Nordstrom’s stock value has dropped 30 percent, and Wal-Mart is closing 250 stores nationwide. Meanwhile, Amazon is leasing an air shipping fleet with plans to dominate the skies. At times, the online retail giant seems poised for world domination, while the rest of the retail industry is swallowed by its shadows.
Amazon’s threat is real, to be sure. But as Co.Design reports, retailers aren’t waving the white flag. Instead, they’re looking to marketing and selling strategies distinct from what Amazon currently offers. And retailers are finding that the fight is still very much alive: Despite its massive success, Amazon isn’t without its weaknesses.
Here are how the rest of the retail industry is managing to stay competitive.
Amazon may have plans to open a chain of stores in the near future, but at the moment its presence is almost exclusively online. Retailers can’t sleep on this advantage. As research shows a consumer base increasingly attracted to the experience of shopping — ranging from VIP-like service to the ability to touch and feel products in-person — retailers can attract consumers simply by maintaining a physical presence.
Omnichannel strategy is gaining traction as a method of providing the best of both worlds. By integrating mobile retail technology into the brick-and-mortar store, shoppers benefit from easy information access, digital personalization, and the efficiency of shopping online — and those attractions are paired with the preferred experience of shopping in a physical store.
Just as shopping in stores offers retailers a leg up over Amazon, online-to-offline selling can respond to consumer desires for convenience, and faster product acquisition. In an efficient O2O selling infrastructure, consumers can shop from the convenience of their own home — much as they do with Amazon — but then pick up their order in a nearby physical location, sometimes within an hour of making the order.
Amazon is working to build O2O selling opportunities, but it’s well behind other retailers, which already have the physical infrastructure in place. And, by saving on shipping costs and wait times, brands don’t have to worry about matching Amazon’s prices to the penny — the quality of their experience will be worth more to most shoppers.
As Amazon’s threat increases, retailers will be forced to lean more heavily on strategic partnerships. Analytics, shipping and distribution companies will be forced to collaborate in ways that support the survival of retail businesses, keeping them viable amid Amazon’s growth.
These mutually beneficial relationships also keep the partner companies in business, too. A network of support will be needed to build a viable, longstanding challenge to Amazon.
But despite the challenges, there is plenty of hope for retailers who embrace the need for change before it’s too late.
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