With a little more than a week remaining in 2013, I think now is a good time to reflect on what we learned this year and begin to look ahead to what we can expect to see in 2014. I suspect that many retailers will continue to downsize their physical footprints, and I anticipate a steadier growth trajectory than we witnessed in 2013. While this year did see some growth, situations like the government shutdown put a damper on growth for the second half of the year. I also think we’ll see stores try to make shopping more “experiential” for shoppers to lure them in. I discuss all of this and more in my latest Retail Rap column.
One of the most important and influential demographics — the oft-discussed Millennials — are also the group most likely to demand more in terms of the experiential elements I mentioned above. Millennials certainly haven’t written off brick and mortar, but they do tend to have higher (or at least, different) expectations in terms of how they want their brick-and-mortar retail environments to feel. In turn, retailers are going to have to do a better job of understanding Millennials’ priorities and catering to them. The big question to me is how well retailers like Ann Taylor and William Sonoma (which haven’t historically had a strong appeal to a younger demographic) will be able to adapt.
Check out the full article from my recurring column, Retail Rap, at Chain Store Age.