If you are a Canadian retailer, the end of January 2013 was a pretty telling tale of your future. First, there was the news that Best Buy Canada and Future Shop (owned by Best Buy) were going to close 15 of their retailer stores. Later in the week Sears Canada announced it was laying off 700 employees. With two of Canada’s major retailers have such big problems you really have to wonder how much longer the “big box” store model can survive?
Online retail or eCommerce has a lot to do with the sudden shift in how consumers are making their purchases. A growing number of consumers are turning to their desktops and mobile devices to not only surf but to also complete their purchases. Another growing trend is”show rooming.” Show rooming is the practice of examining merchandise in a traditional brick and mortar retail store without purchasing it, but then shopping online to find a lower price for the same item. Online stores often offer lower prices than brick and mortar stores because they do not have the same overhead cost. Showrooming can be costly to retailers, not only in the loss of the sale, but also due to damage caused to the store’s floor samples of a product. This is not a new term, it started to pick up some momentum back in 2011, and has now reached a tipping point
So what is the future of retail? Well if you are Drew Green, Co-Founder and CEO of online retailers Shop.ca it is sites like his. Shop.ca came out boldly proclaiming they would “Revolutionize online shopping in Canada,” and based on their most recent press release say they have “the fastest growing retail site visited by Canadians in the fourth quarter of 2012.” Further, the release said “the ninth most visited Canadian-owned eCommerce destination and also ranks in the Top 50 most visited eCommerce websites by Canadians.” according to comScore.