6
   

The retail apocalypse

 
 
Reply Sun 15 Sep, 2019 01:07 am
Hi. I would like to think some people have heard of what was referred to as the "retail apocalypse":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retail_apocalypse
https://www.visioncritical.com/blog/retail-apocalypse-2017

"The retail apocalypse or retailpocalypse is the closing of a large number of North American brick-and-mortar retail stores, especially those of large chains, starting in 2010 and continuing onward."

This phenomenon was caused for a number of reasons, but the most obvious is e-commerce. Many consumers don't want to go out in public and shop at brick-and-mortar stores when they can simply buy goods online.

A large number of retailers were affected by the apocalypse:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_retailers_affected_by_the_retail_apocalypse

and some have survived:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retail_apocalypse#Unaffected_retailers

If more retailers had online stores, would they have been spared of the apocalypse? Would that have been enough to save the retailers?

I am curious- please help. Thank you
 
JGoldman10
 
  0  
Reply Sun 15 Sep, 2019 01:30 am
@JGoldman10,
JGoldman10 wrote:


I am curious- please help. Thank you.


- FIXED.

Maybe a big reason a lot of retailers went under is because they had a bad business model. I'm not an expert on ergonomics.
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Sun 15 Sep, 2019 03:54 am
@JGoldman10,
Modernity doesn't just affect North America you know. It happens all over the World
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  3  
Reply Sun 15 Sep, 2019 07:38 am
Sorry, this is going to be long. How retail has changed in the past few decades isn't something which can be answered in 2 sentences.

It was less of a "bad" business model versus an outdated one.

Business success can be traced directly back to marketing success. And marketing success comes from understanding what's called a buyer persona (AKA a customer avatar). That's the "ideal" customer for a product or service. This is based on demographics like age, gender, education level, income, etc.

Look at ads for a product or service and you can start to see this. For example, consider ads for airlines. Do they emphasize comfort, price, convenience, how much work you can get done, family friendly services, or something else? Once you see what they emphasize, you'll begin to see what their buyer persona is like.

Sears, to name a retailer that is no more, probably saw working people as its buyer persona, over age 40 (maybe 50) and white, if I had to guess. This is a very general buyer persona. It probably needed to be a lot more specific.

It's also a group of people who have changed dramatically in the past half century. Here's a fer-instance.

When I was a child (1960s), my father's mother was in her 50s. She was an old lady, and retired.

In the 1980s, my parents were in their 50s. They both worked full time and were active. Fast forward quick to the present: in their late 80s, they are now at about the same physical place my grandmother was in her 50s.

Right now, my husband and I are in our 50s. We spend huge amounts of time online. My work is 100% at home, online. My husband can, at times, also work from home. We both have smartphones, and don't have kids. We act a lot like we did 30 years ago.

Bottom line: this demographic is more active and tech savvy than it was just 30 years ago. Sears was in business way before this. If they weren't updating their marketing approach to address these changes, then they were losing market share.

Retailers today tend to do better catering to niches (think Land's End), or experiences (Disney), or appeals to a feeling of being in the know (Apple), or appeals to looking chic or wealthy (Cosmopolitan magazine), or being discount warehouses (Walmart).

Sears was a discount warehouse long before Walmart, but Walmart ate their lunch by offering cut rate prices. Sears could not keep up. Walmart went into tiny towns where Sears wasn't (to start) and undercut prices which forced local Mom and Pop retailers out of business. As they started to really succeed, they went after Sears head to head. They could afford super cheap prices because they were making serious profits elsewhere.

These days, Walmart owns a lot if not all of its stores so it never has to worry about raising rents. In a lot of towns (particularly in the south), it's the biggest employer. Hence it gets tax breaks because otherwise half the town would be out of work if Walmart left. This perpetuates Walmart's success.

Walmart is also ruthless. If they aren't making money in an area, then they will leave, even if that devastates a town. They pay garbage wages. A lot of their full time, front line workers work a second or third job or are on welfare because Walmart wages are so terrible.

The so-called retail apocalypse happened because our buying habits have changed. A retailer has to change with them, or fail.
livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 15 Sep, 2019 10:28 am
Consumerist culture waxes and wanes. Retailers market products and try to manipulate customers into spending money in various. People get lured in by the various offers and sensory titillation, but the kick wears off and they gradually realize they are wasting money and time and going into debt to acquire junk that they just end up throwing away eventually anyway.

It's good to have places to go and walk around, and shopping malls fulfilled that function, but people were driving to the mall and getting in little accidents in packed parking lots, and it was generally a hassle, which puts online shopping at home at an advantage.

Really what should be happening in the US now is that people should be moving into more walkable mixed-use communities where retail and jobs are all within walking distance so they can live full, productive lives without wasting time and money on driving, dealing with traffic, red lights, crashes, speed limits, etc.

What's blocking that, however, is the political-economic resistance to giving up a more lucrative business model where car sales put people in debt so that the corporations can borrow against the debt and grow more business/job opportunities for the people to get more money to shop more. It is basically a ponzi scheme where the economy is invigorated using consumer debt, and by the end of it some people have made lots of money while others drown in debt.

So living within walking distance to shopping and work opportunities would liberate people from that ponzi scheme, except the housing in such convenient, walkable communities gets very expensive very fast, which stimulates people to buy cheaper housing farther away and drive, which re-initiates the viscous cycle of sprawl, driving, and home shopping in an attempt to reduce the amount of time and suffering spent driving, parking, getting oil changes, waiting for maintenance, dealing with scratches and dents, dealing with car dealerships, paying for tickets and taking points classes, dealing with car insurance, getting inspections, etc. etc.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Sep, 2019 12:01 pm
@jespah,
The businesses that Goldman says DO NOT have brick and mortar sites , are actually building HUGE brick nd mortar fcilities except under the sobriquet of "Fullfillment Centers" These are HUUUGE 1-2000000 ft-sq "Automated distribution centers that are isemboeling ou rural areas. Places like AMZON are saying "**** you" to rural areas and are buying up farm preservation plots by paying huge prices and paying OFF the cot of development right asemenst. Its a goddam shame , but, like Walmart which builds these shopping malls to sell their chochkie crap, The Amazons are tearingup the ountryside with giant warehouss .
Ive already been offered a unreasonably high value for my farm by an "On-line " concern that is practicing the 21 st century version of Northern Pacific RR land piracy. In our case, No one wants to sell because weve seen whats happened up near Hamburg Pa where the Cabelas was built and is now a burgeoning warehous row of ugly giant one story factory-like areas whose very "20 acre buildings" and "parking lot"presence is changing the Susquehanna watershed.
Every century has a new twist . This is our turn at living in the new gilded age .
JGoldman10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Sep, 2019 02:04 pm
@farmerman,
"Brick and mortar"/"brick-and-mortar"/"bricks and mortar"/"bricks-and-mortar" is just an expression.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brick_and_mortar :

"Brick and mortar (also bricks and mortar or B&M) refers to a physical presence of an organization or business in a building or other structure. The term brick-and-mortar business is often used to refer to a company that possesses or leases retail shops, factory production facilities, or warehouses for its operations. More specifically, in the jargon of e-commerce businesses in the 2000s, brick-and-mortar businesses are companies that have a physical presence (e.g., a retail shop in a building) and offer face-to-face customer experiences."

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/brick_and_mortar#English :

"(business) Buildings and property for the conduct of business, particularly in the sale of retail goods to the general public. (Used to contrast an Internet-based sales operation that lacks customer-oriented store fronts and a "traditional" one for which most capital investment might be in the building infrastructure.) [since the mid-1990s]
Brick and mortar retail stores face online competition."
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Sep, 2019 03:22 pm
@JGoldman10,
I know all that, hy are you bringing it up? My point was that the very "Brick and Morterless" (meaning the sits doing the commerce) are becoming MORE depenent ON Brik and Mortar presences because they areinvsting in these HUGE ground wasting ugly, "Fullfillmnt Cnters". Id rather they go and buy up som of the dead shopping centers and rebuild and revitlize the very cities theyve trashed.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Sep, 2019 03:25 pm
@farmerman,
farmerman wrote:

I know all that, hy are you bringing it up?


He can get very prickly and defensive quite suddenly and he certainly picks some really weird battles to fight.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Sun 15 Sep, 2019 05:32 pm
@farmerman,
Yes, Amazon fulfillment centers are becoming the Walmart-esque employers of this decade. We don't seem to have Walmart in Boston, but we have at least one fulfillment center I know of (near where I went to college, actually).

It may be cheaper/safer/more up to code/more efficient to just tear down rather than renovate old malls.

At the Home Depot here (to change the subject slightly), you can buy what you want online and they'll hold it for you to come pick it up, or pay for delivery. Hence they have almost the best of both worlds, a brick and mortar store for browsers and an online presence for the use case I've just outlined. I've found the website doesn't list everything in store, so if the website doesn't have what I want, it can be better to just go over and browse the aisles.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Sep, 2019 07:07 pm
@jespah,
jespah wrote:


It may be cheaper/safer/more up to code/more efficient to just tear down rather than renovate old malls.



They took the old Highland Mall here in Austin and turned it into one of the campuses for Austin Community College.

https://www.austinchronicle.com/binary/461c/boa_2014_ACCHighland3.jpg

http://sites.austincc.edu/incubator/wp-content/uploads/sites/154/2017/08/Highland-overhead-.jpeg
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Sep, 2019 07:41 pm
@jespah,
Random associated stuff.

Re B&M vs online, it is possible, like in the case of Home Depot/Lowes to marry the 2.

I think it's Lowes (but maybe it's HD) I like that you can go online and look for an item at the store you go to, find your item, and it will tell you what aisle and shelf it's on, so you don't have to go wandering around.

At Petsmart, if you buy all your stuff online to pick up at the store later, they give you 5% off.
So you can order, and a few hours later you're notified it's ready. You don't have to walk more than 10 feet into the store and your cart is wheeled out to you with 6 jugs of cat litter and a 30 lb bag of cat food.

I do as much of my shopping online as possible, except for things like groceries. I could potentially imagine doing that though. If I'm ordering restaurant food, it happens online, and I'll go to pick it up or have it delivered. I save gas, time, potential for accidents, having to deal with crowds, or I'll admit, people in general, plus more.

Personally, I never had much need for people who work retail to assist me, beyond the occassional "where would I find this?" The same people who worked in the stores can now work at a call center providing online assistance if it's needed. Plus, there are no many jobs that didn't exist 10 or more years ago due to technology that still need to be filled.

Regarding fulfillment centers, didnt' the inventory of merchandise being sold in stores have to be kept someplace before it was shipped out the the individual stores? Seems like it saves a step.

Plus it keeps businesses like UPS and FedEx going, and gives jobs to people that work there. They hire a lot more than drivers.

Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Sep, 2019 08:17 pm
@JGoldman10,
My advice to the retailers is to offer coffee, food, cinema, and entertainment for free if they want people to move their arses physically into the shops. They could even offer swag with symbolic branding meaning, status symbol the sort of the likes Apple does. To the point, they need to sell an experience along with their products.
When you get to the store you buy a ticket for a small fee that grants you access to all the entertainment going on inside, music events, theatre, etc...if you buy something up from a certain amount you get the discount on the entry fee. The store is a side event that makes money, the entertainment the main show that brings clients.

PS - Why doesn't anyone pay me for having these ideas? Pff!...
JGoldman10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Sep, 2019 09:18 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Did George Carlin ever get paid for the ideas he offered when he did comedy?
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Sun 15 Sep, 2019 11:14 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil Albuquerque wrote:

My advice to the retailers is to offer coffee, food, cinema, and entertainment for free if they want people to move their arses physically into the shops. They could even offer swag with symbolic branding meaning, status symbol the sort of the likes Apple does. To the point, they need to sell an experience along with their products.
When you get to the store you buy a ticket for a small fee that grants you access to all the entertainment going on inside, music events, theatre, etc...if you buy something up from a certain amount you get the discount on the entry fee. The store is a side event that makes money, the entertainment the main show that brings clients.

PS - Why doesn't anyone pay me for having these ideas? Pff!...


I'm not sure why retailers want to spend even more money to get people to physically come into their stores, when people buying online is cheaper for them.

And what kind of "events and entertainment" are happening inside? Cinema? That one really got my head scratching. Why would anything but the biggest of stores give up a thousand square feet or more of retail space? What about a small shop that's only 1 to 2 thousand square feet in total?

You want to give beverages and food to people so they can spill them all over your merchandise? Especially clothes? Oh, they eat and drink in a separate area? Isn't that like the cafe that a lot of stores have anyway? Think Barnes and Noble, Nordstroms, Whole Foods, IKEA etc. Most grocery stores nowadays contain banks, pharmacies, cafes, and some also have dry cleaners, hair stylists...the list can go on. The thing is, these extra shops are independant from the main purpose of the store.
In fact, the big selling point is that you gotta go buy food, it takes time out of your day. Putting these other vendors in place saves people time, gas, etc.

If small business did that, there would be a problem with them concentrating on what they are. Are we a restaurant, or do we sell bath products, clothes, electronics? Are we a Dave and Busters or a book store? There's a danger that in trying to be all things to all people, you become nothing to anyone.

I'm not sure if trying to save the concept of these huge malls is worthwhile today. Back in the day, in the 70's and 80's large malls as we think of them today were new and exciting. It was a new concept. Now, they are more and more rapidly becoming a relic of that time.

If jobs could be maintained in another area with the elimination of expensive leases it would be beneficial to both the business and the consumer.

If you go into a mall and buy a pair of shoes, how much of that cost is going to pay the rent? Sure, the cost to the consumer might end up being similar, but the money and benefits for employees could go up because they don't have to sacrifice their pay to the cost of the retail space.

I'm 60 and I have no fear of this retail apocalypse. Better things would replace them. It's already happening.

What is worse for the environment? 200 hundred cars driving to the mall, and back home, with only 50 people (if that) even buying stuff, or one fedex truck driving to each of these locations and delivering?

I reluctantly had to go to a mall the other day, because Apple Store. Long story but I ended up having to go back a 2nd time.
The 2 times I had to wait maybe a half hour sitting in the mall proper. Now this was a nice mall. Christ, how depressing. Most people just walking around like zombies. Barely anyone had any bags from purchases in their hands. I watched people with muffin tops and guts spilling over ill fitting jeans and t-shirts, sucking soda from cups and looking with glazed eyes at stuff in wondows there was no way they were going to buy. It was like they couldn't think of anything else to do with their time.

These malls could service so many other purposes. As I mentioned above, one in my city became a campus of a community college.
They could be converted into residences, offices, much more. Here's an interesting link.

https://www.cbsnews.com/media/10-new-uses-for-abandoned-malls/

They are already located in locations that are easily accessible to people, and could potentially bring in so much more money, as well as still provide jobs and other opportunities.

Back in 1999, Robert Mueller Airport, which was just outside of downtown Austin, was permanently closed, the airport moving out East of the city. It was completely torn down.

Now, 20 years later....

"The 700-acre Mueller site, vacated when Austin's airport relocated in 1999, is well on its way to becoming home to approximately 14,300 people, 14,500 employees, 10,500 construction jobs, 4 million square feet of office and retail, more than 6,200 homes and 140 acres of public open space. Mueller is an award-winning master planned and designed community, and in accordance with new urbanist principles."

It's a wonderful space. There's also a medical center, public pool, a school is in the works and more. It's really like a little town with everything you need in a manageable space.

Personally, I can envision a lot better things than a JCPenny and kiosks hawking cell phone cases and chair massages.


https://1147794.v1.pressablecdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/JMI_7630-copy.jpg
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Sep, 2019 03:16 am
@chai2,
Quote:
Regarding fulfillment centers, didnt' the inventory of merchandise being sold in stores have to be kept someplace before it was shipped out the the individual stores? Seems like it saves a step.
Thats all true but the big time dedicated fullfillment centers carry total inventory for about 10 stores and have minimal staffs. From a land use basis, it loads all the income to one county out of maybe 8 others and these sites are always in "Prime agriculture pots". As a member of a planning commission Ive gone and inspected collections of FC's or "Cloud Stores" and they are just huge stopping off points for chinese crap.

In our area we provided assistance to hve old and new farmers get put on ag preserve easements so that theres some hope of open spaces and productive soils .
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Sep, 2019 03:21 am
@jespah,
I like that dual porpoise idea. When a Sports gear fullfillment center was planned in Eatern Lanc County , the County "Fathers" came up with a request for just that kind of presence (becaue Lnc is Pa' biggest tourist draw. No th whole thing is like a Fullfillment Center with a broqsery (like LLBeans). I think they havent sat down and thought out th wntire menu of options yet.

0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Mon 16 Sep, 2019 05:22 am
@chai2,
That's a neat use of the space. And I truly hate malls. Goodbye and good riddance to them.

One thing I would like to see with fulfillment centers is putting a lot of the operation underground. That way, it doesn't interfere too much with agriculture (farmerman's concern).

The fewer cars on the road, the better.

What a lot of cities and towns need these days are grants and other incentives to put in public transportation infrastructure.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Sep, 2019 06:04 am
@JGoldman10,
JGoldman10 wrote:

I'm not an expert on ergonomics.

Of course, you're not.
Ergonomics has nothing to do with retail economics.
Quote:

ergonomics noun, plural in form but singular or plural in construction
er·​go·​nom·​ics | \ ˌər-gə-ˈnä-miks
Definition of ergonomics

1 : an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely
— called also biotechnology, human engineering, human factors
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Mon 16 Sep, 2019 09:11 am
@jespah,
jespah wrote:

That's a neat use of the space. And I truly hate malls. Goodbye and good riddance to them.

One thing I would like to see with fulfillment centers is putting a lot of the operation underground. That way, it doesn't interfere too much with agriculture (farmerman's concern).

The fewer cars on the road, the better.

What a lot of cities and towns need these days are grants and other incentives to put in public transportation infrastructure.


OMG what a wonderful idea! Well, not that you probably personally came up with it, but what an Aha! moment for me. That, and the coffee's kicking in.
Not just for uses named, but think of a world where much of space needed to work, maybe even live (I wouldn't mind it personally), is underground. The surface freed up for transportation, agriculture, living space etc. When you think about it, aren't these old malls essentially people going into a cavern with artficial light with people roaming tunnels?

Years back, I felt so naive when I went with a contingent with work to see congressmen at the state capitol. I had not realize that so much of the office space was underground. With plenty of skylights in the first level down, and some strategically placed natural light sources for the 2nd level, it wasn't depressing at all.

Farmer, totally agreeing with you about taking land that can be used for growing and raising food and putting up these storage facilities. Stupid use of land.

Although it made me think of a few things, from the essentially uncontrollable to communities working together.

In no particular order: The fact that people are obsessed with consumerism and are addicted to buying cheap crap from China. It's a vicious circle that's out of control. I need a job that pays X amount so I can buy crap and then I need more $ to pay for it. With the added benefit of this crap sending the planet to hell in a handbasket. For the workers making this crap they are also on their own hamster wheel of their own making. I imagine great minds would come up with more beneficial employment for people instead of making ladles that look like they have dinosaur heads, or items like this.....

And why do we want these things? Because we saw it.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Rtl0Nah9VBs/hqdefault.jpg
 

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