Retail 2.0 – does location matter?

Andy Thompson and I were scheduled to give a presentation today to the Society for Location Analysis at their Mapping Futures. Unfortunately our slot was cancelled at the last minute (sponsors/agenda time table/stuff) so we never gave the presentation but we learnt a lot preparing and discussing the topic.

Online shopping is growing much faster than the overall UK retail market so presumably is capturing market share from traditional bricks and mortar retailers. Does this mean we are facing the inevitable decline of traditional retail outlets? Not quite that simple. Many people will reach a decision by searching online, comparing prices and features and considering customer reviews, then make their purchase in a store to physically evaluate, avoid waiting, the need to be at home to receive the delivery or delivery charges. There is also emerging evidence that retailers with a high street presence gain a larger share of internet traffic than purely on line retailers.
We predicted 3 possible outcomes:

  • Retail catchment areas will be much smaller in size
  • Customers will reject brand loyalty in preference to price/convenience trade-off
  • Purchase behaviour will become more complex and transaction patterns less predictable

Almost certainly we will need new data sources and new methodologies to understand how locations willl be impacted by these changes in behaviour.
Here are the slides