(Chuck Muth | Marketing Hot Tips) – Many were shocked at news this week that Amazon.com, the nation’s biggest online retailer, bought Whole Foods, the nation’s biggest brick-and-mortar organic grocery retailer, for $13.7 BILLION.
That flies in the face of conventional wisdom that the retail world is fleeing Main Street for the Information Super Highway, right?
According to Spenser Spinnell, Director of Emerging Platforms at Google – a company that, I think you’ll agree, knows a little something about what’s happening on the Internet – while 97% of consumer purchases these days start on the Internet, less than 6% actually happen on the Internet.
Online has certain advantages. Offline has certain advantages. The most successful retailers in the future will and must have both. Old-style brick-and-mortar retailers need to adapt or die.
People read about products and services, especially new ones, online – through social media posts, blogs, online news stories, digital ads on websites, etc. – but most people continue to buy most things from brick-and-mortar stores.
Yes, online purchases will continue to grow, but the threat to offline retailers is nowhere near as potentially cataclysmic as many brick-and-mortar retailers would have you think – except for brick-and-mortar operations that refuse to get with the program by adding a serious online presence to their Main Street presence.
Like how retail giant Target recently invested in Casper Sleep, a start-up online foam mattress company.
“The strategic partnership offers Casper access to an established retail brand,” Target said in a statement last month, “and gives Target an opportunity to work with a future-focused digital brand that is exploring an area that is meaningful for our guests.”
The retail universe has changed. Forever. Old-fashioned retailers who change with the times will survive and likely prosper. Those that don’t will go the way of Borders Books, Circuit City and the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Which path will you choose?
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach and publisher of Nevada News & Views