As retailers struggle with sluggish like for like store sales many are axing unprofitable stores. This must be part of the strategy however reinvestment in the right things is critical for the future. Gartner analysts Joanne Joliet, Ed Porter and Mim Burt recently explored this in new research: Industry Vision: Less Physical Retail Selling Space and Greater Retailer-Manufacturer Collaboration. Here is a portion of their findings.
Digital business is also driving change in how brick-and-mortar retail space is used today. Consumers are increasingly combining the use of web, mobile and physical store channels, leading to more unified retail commerce models. These digital business models become even more complex with the growing capabilities of social and IoT. Consumers seek convenience and consistency when shopping, and they demand that retailers provide capabilities to “buy anywhere, fulfill anywhere, return anywhere.” These capabilities, while creating flexibility for both the retailers and consumers, are reshaping, and will continue to reshape, the activities that must take place in physical stores and that must be accounted for when allocating space.
Retail CIOs who are focused on the execution of retail operations should:
- Create an industry vision for declining physical selling space with a team of business and IT leaders. Do it quickly and simply, focusing on possibilities and options for consideration.
- Research how other industries are becoming more collaborative and developing new partnerships. Identify best practices, differentiation and overlap.
- Provide the CEO and CSO with the IT architectural vision and model upon which a new industry scenario can be enacted for declining selling space and new partnerships.