It’s been a challenging few years for the retail industry, and apparel retailers have been among those hit the hardest. And while there may not be a single explanation for why this is, there are a few key drivers. For one, it’s no longer fashion brands that set the trends, rather customer expectations are now driven by influencers on Instagram, Snapchat and other social media platforms. Compound that with competition from emerging, more nimble retailers and eCommerce giants such as Amazon making a play in the space, and you have the perfect combination for friction and challenges.
The UK retail market has experienced a turbulent few years with major household names issuing bankruptcy warnings. Last week it was announced that U.K. retailer, Homebase, was set to close another 43 stores amidst struggling trading conditions. Chief Executive Damian McGloughlin was quoted as saying: “Launching a CVA has been a difficult decision and one we have not taken lightly. Homebase has been one of the most recognisable retail brands for almost 40 years, but the reality is we need to continue to take decisive action to address the under performance of the business.” It’s since been speculated that Amazon is primed to pick up Homebase real estate to facilitate growth in their on-demand delivery service.
Last year we wrote about the Spring of B2B Marketplaces: how they were beginning to prosper and what this meant for the industry. This year we’ve teamed up with Roland Berger and Webhelp to bring you the next step in this evolutionary journey. Read on for a snapshot of what to expect and some of the key findings we unearthed.
In a time of unparalleled flux, UK and US retailers have something in common. They are increasingly looking for the next point of differentiation to stay relevant to their customers. As consumer behavior evolves, many are seeking ‘experiential’ or ‘service-based shopping’, and this new way of conducting commerce could just provide the beacon of hope the industry needs.
Two numbers inspired the creation of our Guide to Commerce for Manufacturers. First, Forrester estimates that US B2B eCommerce is about to hit $1 trillion. Second, B2B eCommerce World found that only 40% of US Manufacturers have an eCommerce platform, which means 60% of Manufacturers aren’t able to serve customers where they want to buy. That’s a pretty big gap. At SMITH, it’s our job to help manufacturers better serve their current & future customers.