Gift or Curse: How the Internet is Changing Commerce

The internet is a double-edged sword in the business world. Those who use it find unique ways to grow their business, while those who ignore it sometimes pay the ultimate price. Being a brick-and-mortar company today is shaky ground, as e-commerce seeks to take over the retail industry. There’s a trend that began in 2016 that is trickling over to 2017 and it’s scaring many brands. We’ve been seeing an onslaught of brick-and-mortars closing down. And we’re not talking your mom and pop shops, but major retailers. What’s even more telling is the reason behind their closures – digital.

This is what makes internet marketing agencies a must-have. If your retail store isn’t in the digital realm, then you’re risking being shut down by those that are. Don’t believe us, check this out.

Target Faces Major In-Store Losses

This makes complete sense with majority of consumers now using mobile devices to make purchases. Just about everything can be purchased on the web, including apparel, shoes, household goods and even car tires. In Q3 2016, Target saw a year-over-year decline in total sales due to a steep drop in in-store purchases.

What’s holding this company over is it digital business. Thankfully for them, people are still going to their website to make purchases. They decided to focus on improving their omnichannel fulfillment options over the holidays hoping to bring in more foot traffic. However, digital still prevailed. Online sales grew by 26 percent year-over-year equaling to about $560 million (Q3 2016). This is compared to Targets 0.2 percent year-over-year at the same time.

Now, it’s not just Target that’s having heartache due to digital. It’s others as well.

Sports Authority Shuts Down 460 Stores

The problem with this picture is that Sports Authority has only 460 stores. This is a complete shut down and they are even going as far as to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Initially, they were only planning to close down 140 stores, but the debt was just too much. Buyers wouldn’t purchase the brand from auctions and there was no other way to shift the debt, so they had to pay the ultimate price. The brand hosted a major going out of business sale and stated the reason for its demise was online competition.

If you’re a local owned retailer, it’s a good idea to team up with an internet marketing agency that offers SEO services to companies like yours. Your online reputation management means everything to the continuity of your business, so don’t overlook this.

Walmart Not Unscathed

You know things are bad when major retailer Walmart has to shut down stores. This company has stores all around the world and it too had to shut down 269 locations, 154 of which are in the U.S. This is the world’s biggest retailer we’re talking about and it can’t escape the wrath of the internet. This is great news though for the online retailers. They are on the right side of the ball game. Unlike Sports Authority, it will take much more to really shut down Walmart, as it has roughly 11,600 stores in operation and plans to open another 300. The reason behind their closures was stated as being due to those locations not fitting Walmart’s broader strategy. They are also currently aggressively growing its e-commerce business and we all know why – to compete with its arch enemy Amazon.

Kmart and Sears Take Another Deadly Blow

The merged companies have already had a hard time over the past decade, and it seems rough times aren’t over yet. Kmart announced it will be shutting down 68 stores and Sears will be closing 10. These are said to be unprofitable locations. This comes after the company had already shut down 50 stores at the beginning of 2016. Amazon plays a big role in the downturn for Sears and Kmart.

Clothes Shops Shutting Down

At one point in time, apparel stores were one of the most profitable businesses to have. People liked to go to the mall to go to Aeropostale and The Limited. Unfortunately, they have shifted to online purchases from more affordable places. Now, The Limited is closing up shop for all of its 250 locations. And Aeropostale has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after announcing it would close 113 of its 739 American stores and all 41 of its Canadian stores.

Digital Marketing and Commerce Are the Future!

Big brands are like big banks, they believed they were too big to fail and came crashing down anyway. Those that are still in the game know the industry has changed and are trying desperately to keep up with digital competition by increasing their presence on the web. If your business has yet to do the same, then it’s time to find an internet marketing agency to assess your online presence. Companies need to work with the best to ensure their SEO is top-notch. Without good rankings and a content marketing strategy, your brand will be washed away in the sea of other e-commerce sites doing the very same thing.

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