If you were to have a rant on retail, then at the least the last few weeks have been dramatic, if not contradictory.
To start with Red Ant went down while the games industry is rapidly becoming the entertainment monopoly.
Then Microsoft announced that it would pull an Apple with new retail outlets. An admission that Apple understands how to do retail perhaps?
And, finally, OFIS is no more, but retail figures remain okay.
It's all good material for the press but doesn't really give us much vision for what is to come.
But there is still money out there in retail, that much is clear. The last stimulus package before Christmas did help prop things up, and there are plenty of reasons to think that the one coming will have a similar effect.
However, the question is how to capitalise on what money is out there. Consumers now need a reason to go and buy a specific product from a specific store. One thing I’ve found about JB Hi-Fi is that is has a very clear target demographic (younguns with disposable incomes), and presents itself quite well to that demographic.
JB actually asks people to come visit. Like Uncle Sam, JB wants you.
It’s based on anecdotal evidence, but between the online generalist stores such as Amazon, and economic concerns pressing on people’s wallets, retail outlets simply do not have the luxury of being passive. As an experiment, walk through your local mall.
How many stores did anything to encourage you in? How many of those stores have more than a token internet presence?