The nearest river to Morrisons (supermarkets) is the river Aire. However, they have chosen to paddle down the Amazon. Or at least peddle their produce through the Amazon portal.
At the same time certain UK analysts in the retail have stated that there will be a loss of nearly 1 million jobs in the retail sector over the next 10 years. Citing the main reason being the continuing development and growth of the Internet.
Well,you would have to have lived deep in some remote Himalayan valley for the last 10 years , not to have realised that there is has been a dramatic change in people’s shopping habits. However , you only to have look at some of the new and innovative ideas that have come about recently to know that the future of retailing is not quite the open book, they think it is . 20 years after experts announced the nail in the coffin for book retailers as Amazon came onto the scene, Amazon USA have come up with the brilliant new idea of opening up Book shops !
So 20 years after scaring off American book shops, with their new fangled internet thingy for selling books, they are now scaring the book stores again, but this time with ‘shops’.
eBay are using portals such as Argos, Amazon have teamed up with a major grocery retailer, and have opened shops themselves, and John Lewis have one of the more successful operations for a retailer in the UK. Which leads me to think that this shop idea is not such a bad thing.
Don’t get the wrong idea and think I am suggesting that all is well with the shop concept. Far from it . However, online operators are not without their problems. Costs and squeezed margins are an increasingly common problem. Ocado, one of the UK’s leading online operators , set up purely for the purpose as an online grocery fulfilment organisation, struggles to make money. Moreover, once a major partner of Waitrose, lost business through John Lewis (parent company) doing their own thing. Then became a partner to Morrisons, now potentially losing business to Amazon. Online operators throughout the party and dress up market, are constantly bemoaning shrinking margins.
But for a group of researchers to turn round and say that there will be a loss of nearly a million jobs in retail is to misunderstand retailing entrepreneurs and the quirky habits of shoppers. The reality is that any serious or accurate forecasting over any reasonable length of time is virtually impossible. This has been illustrated admirably by our very own Bank of England, and most other illustrious financial institutions around the world. Today, There are far too many imponderables , in addition to rapid and unseen changes in technology . It is disingenuous, patronising and downright stupid for anyone to make such a sweeping statement when there is no scientific rationale. In 1994, the beginning of the era of mobile phones for the masses, Vodafone forecasted the entire UK market for mobile phones was 600,000 handsets. By 2015 60% of UK adults owned a smartphone.
As with the Internet, shops will continue to evolve and develop. To survive and be successful they will have to change. To think they won’t, is naive. The level of employment within the retail will undoubtedly change. The retailer’s USP is knowledge and service. The professional retailers understand this, and both these features need boots on the ground. Retail employees have as much to fear from Landlords and business rates than they do online shopping.