Can blending online and physical stores help sellers compete?
Consumers in an Internet age have the world at their fingertips. They can buy on the Web, on mobile devices and via social media. They can shop seven days a week at any time of day and buy from anyone anywhere. Some browse the Internet, then buy in a store; others browse in a store, then buy online from a competitor. To survive in this demanding environment, retailers are breaking down the boundaries between physical and digital “channels,” the ways in which they sell and distribute products to consumers. Retailers are blending their operations into a seamless experience the industry calls omnichannel retailing. Growth in this type of selling comes at a time when retailers are facing increasing competition and shrinking profit margins. As a result, they are trying to improve their Web experiences, bring the digital world into the store and reorganize their supply chains for speed. The challenge is daunting and raises numerous questions. Can existing supply chains support growing omnichannel retailing? Can Internet retailing help small businesses compete? Will brick-and-mortar stores disappear?
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Howard, Vicki, “From Main Street to Mall: The Rise and Fall of the American Department Store,” University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015. A history professor traces the history of retail through department stores.
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Reports and Studies
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The Next Step
Katzmaier, David, “Samsung shows retail-ready transparent, mirrored OLED,” CNET, June 10, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Sciacca, Annie, “Target launches technology lab and retail space in San Francisco,” San Francisco Business Times, July 9, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Young, Molly, “At Rebecca Minkoff in SoHo, Interface-to-Face Service,” The New York Times, Feb. 10, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Johnston, Chris, “Amazon's first bricks-and-mortar store opens in … Indiana,” The Guardian, Feb. 3, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Lindeman, Teresa F., “Department stores, including Macy's, looking for ways to evolve,” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 19, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Ramakrishnan, Sruthi, “Deeper back-to-school discounts to hurt teen clothing retailers,” Reuters, July 22, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Evensen, Jay, “Allowing states to collect sales taxes from online purchases is a tough sell,” Deseret (Utah) News, July 1, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Halzack, Sarah, “The new shopping behavior that is creating big challenges for the retail industry,” The Washington Post, Feb. 11, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Soper, Spencer, “Amazon Showrooming Forces Stores to Go Digital on Price Displays,” Bloomberg Business, July 17, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Greenberg, Julia, “Tictail Wants To Be Your Global Marketplace By Going Local,” Wired, July 29, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Jayakumar, Amrita, “It's not just Amazon and Facebook. Small businesses want to use drones too,” The Washington Post, July 16, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Zimmerman, Eilene, “Makers of Custom Sneakers Cash In on Desire for One-of-a-Kind Goods,” The New York Times, July 1, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
American Marketing Association
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Electronic Retailing Association
607 14th St., N.W., Suite 530, Washington, DC 20005
Trade organization representing direct-to-consumer marketers.
National Retail Federation
101 New York Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20005
Trade association whose mission is to advance the interests of the retail industry through advocacy, communication and education.
National Small Business Association
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Small-business advocacy group with 65,000 members.
Retail Industry Leaders Association
1700 N. Moore St., Suite 2250, Arlington, VA 22209
Trade association and advocate for large retail organizations.
Retail Merchants Association
5101 Monument Ave., Richmond, VA 23230
Association that advocates for retailers and small businesses in greater Richmond.
Retail Supply Chain Institute
Babson College 231 Forest St., Babson Park, MA 02457-0310
Academic institute that acts as a conduit for research between students, retailers and suppliers.