If you read the popular press these days I am sure you’ve seen the significant doom and gloom projected toward traditional brick and mortar retail. The so called pundits in the press forecasting the ultimate demise of physical stores.


Clearly the big picture for physical retail is murky and significant challenges exist including:

  • Too much space. In the USA — there is 20 square feet of retail space for every person vs. 3 square feet of retail space for every person in the UK.
  • Addiction to Discounting. Discounting (seemingly every retailer's favorite strategy) creates short term sales at the expense of long-term profit.
  • Open is Cheaper than Closed. Often times it is cheaper for struggling retailers to keep open underperforming stores rather than close them.

However, bright spots on the horizon continue to suggest that rumors about the death of brick and mortar retail are grossly over exaggerated. Consider the following examples:

  • Retailers like Duane Reade have introduced quick serve food, on-site medical consultations, and other experiential offerings -- all of which can't be replicated online and give consumers a compelling reason to visit stores.
  • Other innovators include Birchbox, Bonobos, Warby Parker, Bauble Bar and Nasty Girl all of whom began selling exclusively online and are now investing to open old fashion physical stores in key locations.
  • Then there's Amazon. The world's greatest online retailer and purveyor of cloud-based services is planning to open a brick and mortar store to sell physical goods to physical humans.

Do you agree or disagree? Comment below as I would love to hear your thoughts.

Matt Howard photo
Husband and father. Software innovator, entrepreneur and marketer. My wife is my soul mate. My 3 kids are my greatest accomplishment. I love innovation and marketing. Also running, yoga, wine, Baltimore Ravens and Avalon, NJ. Sales and Marketing VP at Natural Insight. Founder & CEO of ZoomSafer. Co-founder of SMBLive. Marketing VP at Groove Networks and USinternetworking.