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Retail’s Darwin Transformation

Market Transformation

The pandemic is cleaning out the old stock and making room for the new. Forcing everyone, including retail stores to evolve in ways that will endure long after the crisis has passed.

Retail is having a Darwin moment. Due to COVID-19, some businesses are adjusting to the new norm. Whereas others that aren’t able to adapt quickly enough, are dying out. During such moments, a shift in industries and markets interestingly point out the strong and weak. Resulting in a healthier Main Street that can better compete with online natives and offers better services for consumers.

Even before the pandemic, retail was evolving fast, and the old guard was struggling to keep up. Over the past two years, giants such as Walmart, Amazon, and Target consistently rolled out a list of on-demand services. Including shorter delivery times, bigger inventories, and lower prices, conveniently serving their customers. While D2C brands such as Warby Parker and Everlane built modern physical interiors that made older stores look unappealing. Meanwhile, restaurants were being pressured by DoorDash and Uber Eats to find new ways to serve customers.

Retail Opportunity Calls

As a facilities management leader, I have seen the pandemic increase these pressures. By forcing malls, retailers, and restaurants to evolve in ways they needed to survive for the long haul. That meant providing better online services and focusing on convenience as a commodity. Some services include curbside pickup, patio dining, and cleaner interiors. Creating an environment that customers truly appreciate.

Malls, for instance, were already in decline as mainstays such as JCPenney, Lord & Taylor, and Brooks Brothers struggled to attract a younger clientele and fell into bankruptcy. The pandemic has opened the door for more modern brands such as Bonobos and AllBirds to take advantage of cheaper leases and move into those spaces. Some malls are even working with Amazon to install high-tech grocery stores and distribution centers, turning what was once a threat to physical retail into a partner in its survival.

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Interested in how the pandemic affected today’s businesses? Check out our article on Pandemic-Fueled Omnichannel Shopping.

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