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Embracing Retail’s New Internet Consumer

Name an industry that hasn’t been affected by the Internet.  It’s not an impossible task to get a good list going, but the list would be a short one.

Printed publications are competing against digital news sources that are happy to share information for free.  As a result, paywalls are implemented to combat the revenue losses by charging readers to view online content.

Libraries are struggling to find their place of relevance and book stores that couldn’t keep up are forced to close as physical books have been made obsolete by the Kindles and Nooks of the world.

And let’s not forget about the entertainment industry – one of the first industries to suffer the wrath of the digital age.  Anything and everything can be streamed and all one needs is access to the World Wide Web.

Any attempt to bypass, rather than embrace the inevitable could lead to a swift demise.  So how are businesses coping?  At this point, the Internet isn’t going anywhere so companies are finding ways to continue to appeal to their target market.  Engagement is important and creating a relationship with the consumer prove to foster a good retailer-consumer bond.

The retail industry in particular is experiencing a shift as e-commerce continues to change consumer spending habits.  The amount of time consumers spend in stores has decreased, comparison shopping has become ten times easier, and a purchase can be made anywhere via smartphones and tablets.

The fact that consumers are spending less time shopping can’t be blamed on the Internet alone.  The economy also has an affect on shopping behaviors as worries about job loss and lower incomes hinders purchases.  Everything from gas prices to higher taxes can be taken into consideration in an attempt to decipher a consumer’s intent to purchase.

According to an analysis of the Labor Department’s American Time Use Survey, Americans spent only 28.8 minutes per day shopping on weekends and holidays in 2011 versus 33 minutes in 2006.

There’s always at least one exception to the trend – in retail, the exception seems to be Texas.  NorthPark Center in Dallas managed to pull in more than $1.1 billion in sales last year, ranking in as one of the nation’s highest-volume shopping malls.

In another twist, according to the U.S. Commerce Department’s monthly retail sales report, sales at apparel specialty stores and discounters rose in February while sales at department stores declined.

As a recruiting agency that fills both corporate and retail roles, JBCStyle keeps a close eye on the ups and downs of the industry.  The numbers don’t lie; however, we are always seeking talent for retailers all across the country that are expanding their staff to accommodate new store openings or store expansions.

So how does the retail industry keep up with the changing times?  The same way every industry should – continue to innovate and be open to embracing change.  The appeal of holding The New York Times in your hands, reading a good hardback novel and then stacking it in your bookshelf, collecting your favorite CD’s or walking into a store and actually touching the product before making a purchase isn’t going anywhere – but the experience is evolving and companies need to ensure every type of consumer is satisfied.

Join the JBCStyle Retail Group on LinkedIn for more industry news and retail opportunities.


Retailers Are Losing the Cosumer’s TimeWWD.  Feb. 1, 2013.

NorthPark Eclipses $1.1B as Expansion Continues. WWD. Mar. 12, 2013.