As 2018 gets underway, you can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from the retail industry. The year of the Retail Apocalypse is behind us. We’ve made it through the Retail Reckoning. No longer do we have to worry about the collapse of the industry. Am I right?
Well, no. I’m not right. The struggles of a 21st Century retailer still exist, even though the calendar now reads 2018. But with the new year comes an opportunity for those brick-and-mortar stores that are still standing to rewrite the narrative around physical store retail. Amazon will always be lurking in the shadows, but that doesn’t mean specialty shops, regional chains, and even those big box stores out there need to be quivering in their boots. Physical store sales still account for about 90 percent of all retail transactions after all.
And, in fact, rather than all of the doom and gloom that most analysts painted over the retail industry last year, the real story could be one of redemption. Case in point: hhgregg, which started 2017 as the banner child for the collapse of physical retail only to end the year making a major comeback under new ownership and with a new vision. And part of that vision, believe it or not, involves a return to brick-and-mortar locations.