5 Learnings from Retail Failures
Thursday, June 21, 2018

Categories: Thought Leadership

5 Learnings from Retail Failures

Retail Touchpoints’ post by Marc Gingras captures 5 key learnings from the demise of Toys R Us. Although the post highlights one retailer, it stands for many which have perished, or had to close many stores recently. These retail failures offer important lessons.

Out-of-the-Box Thinking People still love shopping physically. So having a physical presence downtown is important

The 1980’s – 1990’s popularized the Big-Box stores. Naturally they were all located in the suburbs where land is comparatively cheap. Great for the many sub-urbanites, like me. Not ideal for capturing the growing market. Need further validation that cities are growth centers? Below, the UN graphed its forecast for urbanization. For developed nations, by 2025-2030, 80% of the population will be urbanites.

Implications here point to the need for retailers to have a presence in cities. Hence the rise of the pop-up store, and the small format store. People still love shopping physically. So having a physical presence downtown – is important.


Omni-Channel Shopping Counts

Yes, I harp on this point regularly. Remember, the findings of the Omni-1000 research were straight forward. Despite the thoughts, aspirations and efforts of retailers; omni-channel is still in its infancy. Aside from the UK market, retailers in Canada, US, and Australia showed low click & collect adoption.


Click and Collect Adoption Rate By Country


For retailers the lesson is simple. Cater to your customer’s wants and desires. Make it easy for them to shop. Even though omni-channel shopping is still in its early days (outside UK), it will become the norm. Customers simply expect it. Millennials and Generation Z will simply expect it. Are you there yet? If not, it could be one of those retail failures.


Read More: Store Managers: Focus on Solutions Not Apologies

Distributed Order Management

Weird Retail and Omnichannel Trends


Experiential Shopping

Shopping is an experience. It does not matter which channel you use. It is an experience.

Maybe, it is a bland and boring experience. Or it could be an exciting adventure. Which will be remembered? More importantly, which will customers want to repeat?

For in-store shopping, the experience is particularly important. Physical stores are still where the vast majority of shopping is done. For merchants, in-store experiences include the opportunity to upsell, or add on additional items. Make your store a location to which customers enjoy returning, and you boost revenue. Better yet, make it an experience customers tell their friends about, and you magnify your opportunities. Look at the post on Brand Intimacy for a more ideas here. Yes, footfall or foot traffic does ultimately increase sales.

Key Resource: Store Associates Get the Omni-1000 Research Study

Enough cannot be said about training your associates. This is both on task-oriented functions and technologies. It also includes helping them embrace your brand, philosophy and values.

When deploying your omni-channel strategy, your employees need to understand it. Their pay needs to be aligned with helping customers buy across any channel they want. Associates also need to know how to use the system. They need to know where to find out about inventory levels, how to autoroute an order for customer fulfillment, how to bring in stock for a pickup. They also need to know how to guide a customer to buy online, or place a pickup order.

Millennial today, GenZ tomorrow

Don't focus your retail to one generation when the next one will be as crucial to your profitsMillennials took center stage in 2014. That’s when Millennials became the biggest population in the workforce, across North America and Europe. By 2025, Millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce according to Catalyst. With that, so goes the parallel in retail shoppers.

Despite that, don’t lose site of Generation Z. Don’t blinder your retail to one generation when the next one will be as crucial to your profits. A good example of catering and adapting is Hollister. Hollister collects feedback on products and services from GenZ on Snapchat. If GenZ likes social, then you need to be there – to cater to their wants. Do this well, and you build Brand Intimacy.

Make sure your technology is designed to tap into these different channels and methods. Only invest in retail tech that provides flexible communication. Invest in tech that connects with online, mobile, voice, social, and text commerce. Invest in what the future generation is using, and trending toward.



Charles Dimov - Director Marketing OrderDynamicsCharles Dimov is Vice President of Marketing at OrderDynamics. Charles has 21+ years experience in Marketing, Sales and Management across various IT and Technology businesses. Previous roles include Chief of Staff, Director Product Marketing, and Director Sales. Charles has held roles in brand name firms like IBM, Ericsson, HP, ADP, and OrderDynamics.