There was an article today entitled Where You Might Not Shop In 2010 at Forbes.com. The stores featured were famous brick and mortar stores. None of the stores featured were virtual shopping cart software backed stores. The article talked about stores having to close for all sorts of reasons – overcapacity, liquidity issues and the need to consolidate – stemming from the economic slowdown. Fortunately, the situation is not as dire with virtual shopping cart software powered stores. In fact, some virtual shopping cart software run stores such as consignment stores have actually thrived during the economic downturn.
According to economic consultant Retail Forward sales are expected to pick up, increasing by as much as 3% in the second half of 2010 but more needs to be done to reduce excess inventory and align supply with demand.
The good thing about e commerce shopping cart software backed stores is that overhead is minuscule compared to the thousands or millions of dollars giant chains of brick and mortar brands have to fork out each month just to maintain their stores.
Some offline stores are surviving because they also have an online presence. While their physical stores are making losses because of lack of sales in particular areas, their online stores are still receiving orders, 24/7, from places where the economy isn’t so badly hit. Being borderless in terms of sales is not only a key factor to growth, it is also paramount to survival in times like these.
Keeping costs as low as possible is another way to improve profits. Offline stores have no choice but to hold inventory. The best they can do to reduce the cost of holding inventory is to practice the JIT (just in time) approach. However, web store owners have an enviable advantage by employing the services of reliable drop shippers. Web stores need not hold stock at all as order fulfillment will be completely taken care of by the drop shipper. Integration with drop shippers or drop shipper suppliers are included as one of many shopping cart features in major ecommerce solutions.
The recent economic downturn has been seen by some as a blessing in disguise. As shoppers avoided offline stores, traffic to online stores improved as people scoured the Net for better deals that would allow them to stretch their dollars. Both offline and online stores were forced to up the ante in terms of efficiency to remain competitive and improve services to retain or win over customers.
Needless to say, carrying out store makeovers or analysis is easier done online than offline, and much cheaper too. Online holiday store designs take just a few days to produce and minutes to upload. It is also environmentally friendly. There is no need to spend money on mobiles, stickers and posters to be placed all around each and every store.
Also, online stores are more organic in terms of strategic adaptability and can react to trends much quicker. Just ask the folks at Onitsuka. The pair Uma Thurman wore in the Kill Bill movies caused a search spike for that model and resulted in them being completely sold out in weeks.
Where You Might Not Shop In 2010
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