That's the question my husband was pondering out loud the other night. As natives of Manhattan we have always been able to buy whatever we wanted at one or more local retailers. But when J&R went out of business a few months ago, he was left without a viable option for music purchases that were out of the mainstream.
I feel his pain. When Pearl Paint closed I was left facing a similar issue -- where to buy my art supplies.
One would think that in Manhattan there would be enough potential consumers to keep stores open. But they would obviously be wrong, as evidenced by the closing of these two storied retailers.
So what's up? It's simple. According to ShopperTrak, shopper visits to retail stores have fallen by 5% or more from a year earlier in every month for the past two years, with the exception of a small uptick in April.
They believe that we are experiencing a major shift in consumer behavior. That instead of wandering through stores making impulse purchases as they used to, shoppers are using their mobile phones and computers to cherry-pick promotions. (Banjo & Ziobro, 2014)
Interesting. We already know that the Millennials are surgically attached to their mobile devices so it's easy to see what's driving the trend. The question to consider is how it will affect marketing. Does it make sense to continue to advertise in a broad reach medium like television if people aren't making impulse purchases in the store anymore? If people are so honed in on specific products and promotions, is retargeting, with pricing information, the answer? And yet, we still know that when it comes to moving product nothing beats television.
I can't wait to see what happens. In the meantime though, I am heading off to The Strand to buy some used books, before it closes too.
Banjo, S. & Ziobro, P. (2014, August 6) Shoppers Flee Physical Stores, Wall Street Journal, p.B1-2