Things never slow down in e-commerce. Shoppers have taken the wheel, and the retail world is still scrambling to respond to the speed and cost of their expectations. There are always stories and moments that stand out more than others, so we collected ours while we were reflecting on what kind of year 2017 really was.
Five: The Retail Apocalypse
You couldn’t open anything–Twitter, a browser, your phone–without seeing a headline this year about the so-called Retail Apocalypse. (The term even has its own Wikipedia page.) Over-expansion in the 90s, as well as shifting consumer tastes (and a whole lot of debt), are as responsible for mass downsizing (A&F, American Eagle, Sears, KMart, and Macy’s) as much as Amazon and online sales.
Retail is seeing the most seismic shift since Sears and Roebuck invented the mail order business. 2018 is looking to be another year of change for brick and mortar. Like the rest of the planet: we’ll be paying attention.
Four: Amazon is Google’s Biggest Problem
So, this was technically a 2016 story, but it was very much a 2017 conversation: most shoppers start their product research on Amazon instead of Google. Google’s biggest competitor isn’t another search engine; it’s the web’s biggest retailer. Google has launched a host of “me, too” products including a paid streaming T.V. service. Where Microsoft was once the search giant’s biggest rival: have they finally met their match?
Three: Black Friday still Alive and Well
There were murmurings after Amazon’s Prime Day blew everything out of the water that Black Friday may be a relic. As it turns out: it’s not. According to the NRF (they’d know, right?) 2017 had one of the best Black Fridays ever, driven by (what else?) deep discounts. Shoppers still shop in person, too, with store traffic only down a meager 1%.
Two: Bezos’s VERY Good Year
You probably heard this, but because of Black Friday (See also #3): the guy’s net worth ticked up to over $100 billion. He’s looking for causes to support, so if you have any ideas, now may be the time to hit him up.
One: Amazon Buys Whole Foods
The announcement that Amazon was purchasing ailing the gourmet grocery chain basically broke the internet and was responsible for some of the best hyperbole of the year. Whether Amazon can turn the chain around (it was hemorrhaging money, let’s remember) and compete with Walmart and Kroger is a huge question mark. Just do the math: Whole Foods has 470 nationwide locations, while Walmart has over 5,000 and Kroger has nearly 3,000. While Amazon is surely going to impact the physical grocery business, it’s hard to imagine that anyone is going to buy enough kale to take down the two biggest physical retailers on the globe anytime soon.
Have any that we missed? Feel free to contact us and let us know!