Today, most young people all around the world have stopped doing their shopping in traditional malls, choosing instead to shop online. So, one thing is sure for all retailers and wholesalers: either you start selling your products online or your business will be doomed. Just like the American shopping malls.
Fall of shopping temples
Customer service offices cordoned off by a metal gate, empty shopping aisles, gates fenced by yellow caution tape and deathly silence instead of ambient music playing through the speakers. This is not the film set of the late 1970s’ classic George Romero zombie movie. This is something that is happening today with the big shopping malls in the US. Unfortunately for them, the future doesn’t look good.
Analysts estimate that only half of the roughly 1200 malls spread across the US are expected to be in operation in 2023. In other words, in the next five years around 600 American shopping centres will be out of business. Although this phenomenon is not yet widely recognized in Europe, all available forecasts are showing that it’s only a matter of time before a similar crisis hits the European stores.
‘If you’re not online, you don’t exist’
This shouldn’t come as a surprise as a growing number of Americans don’t see the need to ever go to a shopping mall. Our digital lives are ruthlessly efficient, with retail available at a click. Today, our smartphones are our shopping carts as we can easily find all products online, compare the prices, check out reviews on social media and buy them with fast delivery service. All this without leaving the couch.
Even though today roughly 90 per cent of all products are sold in some kind of physical store and only 10 per cent on digital channels, all forecasts show that this ratio will change dramatically. Ten years from now, it will probably be reversed! So, if you don’t sell your products or services on the internet, your business will be in serious trouble.
US online sales to soar past $1 trillion by 2027
According to FTI Consulting, a business advisory firm, US online sales will grow at a compound annual rate of 12 per cent to 2020 and at a relatively moderate 9 per cent over the next decade. In practice, this means that online sales will pass $1 trillion by 2027. Without a doubt, this trend accurately illustrates how the future of buying products and services will look worldwide.
It’s easy to guess that competition for clients on the internet will be even more fierce than today. And having a good online sales platform won’t be enough as successful ecommerce often depends on something beyond just the platform. It depends on accurate, consistent, product-related information. But, in order to provide flawless product content management, companies must ensure that they are using innovative, scalable and efficient solutions for PIM.