Seamless Commerce or Die!
From multi-, cross- and omni-channel to seamless commerce. The digitalization of retail is probably still the biggest buzzword for the brick-and-mortar fashion industry. Those who have not yet created a seamless shopping experience across all channels will have a hard time meeting customer demands – not just in the long run. The digital revolution sweeps across the retail trade like a purgatory, claiming victims. Karstadt and Schlecker as primary examples. Anyone who does not serve today’s highly networked customers with a link between various online and offline channels will be shaken by the technological trends we see today.
The digital struggle for survival
Are the big digital innovators still tomorrow’s winners? Is the competition so strong that small versus big in times of digital transformation has no more chances? That new beats the traditional? And experience overrules simplicity? Looking at the current German fashion market, there seems to be a struggle for survival: It was only in January 2019 that the fashion company Gerry Weber filed for bankruptcy due to too many challenges in logistics and the rejuvenation of the brand. The textile discounter Primark is also struggling with declining sales in Germany and will shrink its stores in the coming years. H&M also reduces the number of branches across Europe; esprit announced that it would have to reduce up to 400 jobs in Germany. Meanwhile, big global retailers and brands that the struggle for survival recognise that there is strength in numbers.
Retail – Still open or doomed? (Image source: Unsplash)
I believe, only those who cooperate will be successful in the future
It is time to question the strategy and structure of traditional brick-and-mortar retail. In the future, only those who open up to new models of trade will be successful. The one who understands the customer and offers him a solution for his requirements.
In 2020, this means: online marketplaces/food systems as the future of the trading landscape.
Digital ecosystems connect the offerings of retailers, manufacturers and brands with consumers, rely on global logistics and use local events as an experience touchpoint for the customer. Successful e-commerce giants such as Amazon, Alibaba,but also Zalando shape the future of the retail landscape. They have already transformed into digital ecosystems. The three big players are making less and less revenue with their own online shop and increase their function as a online marketplaces. In these ecosystems, not only for the big players, but also for small traders: because an ecosystem can only exist successfully if it creates value for all actors who are part of the system – whether large or small. In the future, smart collaborations will gain, both across all industries and in cooperation with supposed competitors.
E-commerce giants such as Amazon are doing it: In the future, digital ecosystems will shape the retail landscape. (Image source: Unsplash)
Online marketplaces as drivers of stationary touchpoints – Brick-and-mortar retail is not dead.
Despite increasing digitalization and ever-increasing sales in online retail, most of the money is still spent offline. If you look at Amazon’s total revenue in 2019, the share of online retail sales is just over 50 percent. It can be seen that Amazon now generates a strong 18 percent of total sales through the vendor opportunity for third-party retailers that sell through the marketplace. As a result, the former e-commerce giants are increasingly pushing themselves back into the shopping streets and launching new co-op ratios with stationary and local suppliers. Amazon now has 2.5 million retailers worldwide. This includes local grocers or bakeries, small and medium-sized enterprises.
Mergers of digital and stationary, large and small, fast online processing and qualitative offline experiences shape the recipe for success of fashion retail 2020.
Anyone who recognizes smart cooperations will not leave the fast lane this year.