Every 5 minutes it comes down on any social media site, your life is over you see pie charts, lists of names of brands that messed up like the housing market and over expanded, you will continue to get bombarded with the doom and gloom RETAIL IS DEAD or BRICK AND MORTAR is crumbling articles.
Some of you have lost jobs, a lot of us still have jobs, it was a trap shoot of who stayed and who left, none was your fault. A ton of us are comping, a bunch of us are steady gaining new and repeat customers… not to mention a ton of amazing companies are expanding, that doesn’t get the clicks, the likes that the scary “your job is over, your mall is going to be a crumbling ruin like some bad scene in a 1980’s Zombie movie” does.
I’m sorry if you’ve hit the wall, but don’t let it crush you down. In the 1930’s, Great Depression not only did some retail survive some companies actually got there start! Neiman Marcus adapted in the 1930’s, cutting back on its higher end luxury goods, and thanks to a few lucky breaks (oil for one) came back, amazing stuff. Today’s Neiman Marcus is not family owned so there is going to be some interesting turns with them still to come. Other companies went with other strategies some failed, the reason they didn’t fall as big as this time is that corporations expanded and expanded and expanded, so more malls higher rents and then just like we should’ve learned from history… bubbles pop!
1980’s the spending was child controlled, thanks to more spending power through their parents and grandparents and the malls couldn’t keep up with the collision of suburbanization and urbanization . My 100% need to own parachute pants and Adidias Shell Toes can still attest to how strong the power was (I even almost convinced my parents to get me a Kangol hat, but thankfully I discovered my own identity) In the 1980s, when a fashion trend was started by Valley Girls in California or break-dancers in Brooklyn, it spread geographically at a slow pace, so retailers revamped their allocation and distribution centers. BOOM you sell 1 you get 2 in a week… welcome to the 90’s.
The 1990’s brought us consumers fed by MTV, a great housing market and the rise of the internet, by the end of the internet bubble any new fad was now practically instantaneous , meaning that retailers need a much faster response time, you sell 1 we send you 6, sell 1 more and we send you 6 more…. then they want to know why you didn’t sell the 10 other units.
2000’s everything is at our fingertips so what is going to keep them coming in? In the 1980s, going to the mall was a family outing for a new movie out or Mom, Dad, and the kids went their separate ways and met for lunch at the food court, each shopping at an average of seven stores. Today, between work and tiger/helicopter Mom’s shoving children to activities, adults are increasingly destination shoppers. They visit an average of less then 2 stores per trip to the mall, and are back in their cars in less then 76 minutes.
We have to reinvent THE ART OF CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE, and bring on some retail theater! Mom’s are holding stroller yoga power walk crazy baby style crossfit classes in the malls, the older and getting older generations are power walking the malls still. Repeating the same sales and windows has given the customers tunnel vision. Next time a customer walks into your store ask yourself if retail is really dying or if you are doing nothing to make it better? Customer service, customer engagement, put the phone down and get their money into the drawer! Make a difference, don’t believe the hype… the customers are there it’s the customer service that is not.