Part of what’s crushing retail (and potentially grocery) is the real estate. Once people have the comfort of shopping from home, it’s a slippery slope to think you’ll still get in-store lift. So, what industry is next to feel that possible pinch through no fault of their own? My opinion – automotive! Brands like EchoPark are creatively trying to find the right sizing model for pre-owned, while Sonic, their parent company, is implementing technology across its 100+ dealerships to make the experience once you’re there easier. That said, it will be interesting to see which manufacturer tries to take the lead in not requiring multi-multi-million dollar building remodels that focus mostly on what THEY want, when today’s consumers are often making up their minds before they even step on the lot?!
These shiny showrooms still carry some sway for now, but as Amazon just shook grocery to its knees, the cracks are there if the industry isn’t careful.
The biggest problem is one that has taken down other behemoths: the belief that the brand alone dictates how the industry should change, not realizing that today’s consumer is actually the one in control. Don’t think the cab industry doesn’t wish they came up with UBER. How many years did consumers ask cable companies to let them pick their own content before Amazon Prime and Netflix changed the game?
If Google can control the search itself and visionaries like Elon Musk can change the rules, manufacturers must give dealers the opportunity to adjust the experience in ways that not only draw consumers to dealers but TRULY make the experience rewarding to the consumer, and not the other way around.