COPENHAGEN: Physical retail is not dying, but shops have to be truly amazing both online and offline if they’re to survive, according to the CEO of Hudson’s Bay Company.

Jerry Storch addressed the future of retail at the recent Shoptalk Europe conference in Copehagen, where he argued that stores have to be much, much better than most currently are. (For more details, read WARC’s report: The future of retail: data sharing and the shopping experience.)

And he maintained that there is also a huge untapped opportunity in looking at new ways of getting goods to people in more efficient ways.

Most retailers, he said, remain focused on people either buying in a store in the old-fashioned way, or else ordering online for home delivery.

“There’s at least 100 different ways (of getting goods to consumers),” he asserted. “I know of no retailer who’s put in place more than four or five of these. We’re nowhere even close to accomplishing this vision yet.”

Things are changing, he acknowledged, as internet retailers open physical stores and bricks-and-mortar outlets offer in-store pick-up of online purchases, but these are only tinkering around the edges of what could be.

“It’s a much more complex future, and we’re all sitting there devising the Model T,” he said, “and we don’t see what the race cars of the future are going to look like.”

The Hudson’s Bay Company is taking what Storch called the road less travelled, renovating existing stores to provide a new kind of shopping experience, and investing heavily in Europe.

“Chain after chain is going to go bankrupt entirely until we reach the right balance of supply and demand, and those that can afford to, and have got the resilience to build great stores and great internet, will be the long-term winners,” Storch said.

“Those that have the complete model built will be able to fight. We want to fight the Amazons of the world and the others in building a retail bridge to the future.”

Sourced from WARC