The Disruptive Forces that Changed the Culture of Retail

It is no doubt that the culture of retail has changed. When you look at the outline of my findings, you can see that disruption has really changed the way we interact with the retail industry. Even the physical store was changed to reflect a more innovated design. The use of mobile technology has impacted not only communication by eCommerce. You can buy anything from your phone, via the internet or even a mobile application.

Thinking about the future, I was left puzzled. The trends went from solely a brick and mortar store, with tangible items to a robust online platform that uses technology to drive sales. Although, it looks as though the future is going to be a balancing act between the two. Stores will leverage an online platform as well as a store of sorts to continue to drive sales.

I personally feel as though we will become a seamless, technologically driven shopper, who uses the resources in our hands to purchase an item through a more convenient platform. I do not, however, feel as though the tangible store is gone for good. I instead feel that the way the store looks will change. It will be more technologically advanced on the inside, just like how their online platforms work.

Below is the summation video of my findings. Check it out and think about it for yourself. What do you think the future holds?


5 thoughts on “The Disruptive Forces that Changed the Culture of Retail

  1. Darren Williams

    The introduction of the internet and online shopping has both positively and negatively impacted the retail market. As a customer, I know the convenience of ordering online. Often the online selection is much larger than in a store due to the limitations of space to store and display items. Another advantage of online shopping is the convenience. Orders can be placed at any time of the day and depending on the location of the warehouse the product will be coming from and the company’s delivery process the products will be delivered in a relatively reasonable timeframe. On the other hand online shopping has its cons as well. Often it is hard to truly see what something looks like online, so it may look good online but once it actually arrives it may look different than what the customer expected. On that same issue when something is delivered and not liked by the consumer as much as they had expected, then returning the item is much more hassle to return if it can’t be taken back to an actual store front. Now speaking from a retail employee standpoint online shopping has a completely different set of pros and cons. Under Armour is a rapidly growing athletic apparel company with many young innovative minds behind developing and marketing their products. That being said Under Armour comes out with a lot of new products very quickly so for them to stay in the stores for long periods of time is not common unless they are staple items that are kept in the store the majority of the year. That being said if potential customers see an item that they like but can’t find it in store, they will obviously have a better chance of finding it online. In the case of Under Armour, we focus on providing an in store experience that focuses on the athlete personally when they come in unlike any other company. By doing this, the athlete’s needs can be more specifically addressed to find exactly what they are looking for to enhance their performance. This experience can’t be experienced through a description of a product online and that is one thing that makes our stores so popular to visit. However, the popularity poses another issue that is addressed by online shopping. Like I said store space is limited for storing and displaying, due to this popular products often run out very quickly. When this is the case we refer to our online catalog using the instore IPads and Customers are able to order straight to their home using our devices. This is where online and in store retail merge because customers are able to come in and get that personal experience only provided by our employees but they have the widened selection of the online catalog. When it comes to retail, technology serves a very important purpose. It allows for enhanced convenience as well as a wider selection but human help never hurts and in many circumstances it could be the determining factor. Technology also plays a large part in marketing and advertising products now that a store front can’t do on its own just waiting for a customer to come in and happen to see something they like.

  2. Daniel Kelly

    Having lived through a miserable black Friday this year, I am actually glad that stores have embraced the online universe and began to realize that they can torture customers and employees less by using the web to enable us to shop. The one aspect of technology that I think has markedly improved everyone’s lives, if you accept a capitalist consumer market as inherently good. We will avoid talking about Marxism today but imagine a technologically driven modern Communist state, which would be interesting. Regardless, I’ve always wanted a more seamless integration between the two where there is no separation from digital and physical products, namely in the game industry. I have always enjoyed video games and love to play them in my free time, and have found that over the last decade or so that online game distributors are far more popular. Without physical production, costs are lower and since the tech is digital anyway, my favorite games are only a click away. But the downside happens when games are released online at the same time as physical ones but you can only get the extra bonus materials if you buy from a retailer. Yet, if you buy from a retailer, you have to wait more time to get the product and would require leaving the comfort of my home. So the only way to both purchase a game and play it the instant it comes out, and get the cool bonus maps or instruction guides is to buy two copies of the same game. And online versions are not cheaper, despite not needing a box or store they charge the same price regardless. This strikes me as unfair to the customer and I feel that technology and retail has not been integrated enough. It would be wonderful to have the option when purchasing an item, to buy online and then head to the store to pick it up or have the option to wait and let them ship it to you. Instead of doing one or the other, and it is only a lack of vision that holds us back from this because modern technology can easily categorically provide the details of a box retailer’s inventory. It would actually be really nice to have a complete image of a store’s inventory from checking their site, knowing which store is likely to have already sold out a cool product. And preordering products could be much better, by telling a retailer just how many of a certain shirt will be available. The reason they do not want to do this is because it would cause a drop in demand and people would feel as though they no longer need to fight with other customers and feed their animal instincts to shop. Online shopping is far more civilized and big box retailers want to rely on a sense of not knowing what others have to feed our greed and aggression. Is this evil? It absolutely is and we do not have online integration on a massive scale because of it.
    I think that humanity would be better served to have more information, because we would make smarter choices about what we need instead of buying that crockpot for ten percent off because its not only 20 dollars. You never needed a crockpot and still do not need one, but because everyone else might want one that is 20 dollars you feel compelled, and that is a stupid way to live our lives, it is meaningless and demeans all educated individuals.

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  4. Alex Vovk

    It is not very often that I truly enjoy students’ presentations. Quite frequently they consist of several slides with bullet point arguments bundled as a Microsoft PowerPoint file. Jimmy Farney’s presentation titled “The Disruptive Forces that Changed the Culture of Retail” definitely exceeded my expectations. It was very well structured and produced using VideoScribe to create an engaging and informative animated video. There was a Google Docs bulleted outline referenced in the blog post, but it was relevant to the discussion and detailed the factors that support the assertion that the culture of retail has changed drastically with the introduction and widespread adoption of modern technologies. Various factors presented in the outline were used to contrast the shopping experience of the past, present, and future.

    Undeniably, the shopping experience for the consumer has undergone tremendous changes in the past several decades. Whereas in the past, retail was dominated by the giants like Sears, Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Woolworth, which all relied on the brick and mortar stores and catalog sales, modern consumers are no longer limited to the physical stores or printed catalog sales. Virtually every retail outfit has online presence these days, and Internet shopping or purchases through mobile apps available on most smart phones are increasingly becoming some of the more important components of any company’s revenue. Realizing how important online commerce has become, companies dedicate significant resources to technology in the effort to attract new customers and retain old ones.

    Just as the retail industry has experienced major changes, the habits and expectations of the consumer also have changed in a very significant way, which is evidenced by the declining sales at the stores some of the major retailers have reported following the Black Friday activities. Incidentally, Professor Scott Rothbort of the Stillman School of Business of Seton Hall University has been interviewed for the Wall Street Journal and other media outlets on the topic of the challenges that face major retailers. In his interview Professor Rothbort points out the decline in traditional shopping at malls across the country over the past several years and refers to this phenomenon as “The Death of the American Mall” ( Interestingly, the declining sales at the retail outlets are not a sign of the weakening economy, he contends. Rather, it is a shift in consumer behavior and retail commerce, and there are several important causes that he identifies. In the past, generations of consumers went to the mall to hang out, to grab a bite to eat at the food court, to catch a movie, to see and be seen, as well as to make purchases. With the smart phones becoming commonplace and the social media apps that allow everyone to be connected to everyone via text or video, this is no longer necessary. Food can be easily ordered through the mobile apps, movies can be requested and viewed on Netflix, socialization is achieved through facetime or video chat apps, and purchases can be made online. Internet shopping has advantages over the traditional shopping methods where the consumer would have to visit multiple store to check and compare prices and products before making a purchase. These days, the price comparison to get the best bargains is very easy with the help of various sites or by simply using Google search.

    This trend of consumer behavior will continue and eventually will be embraced by the overwhelming majority of customers. In the future, I imagine the advancements in the virtual reality devices will make shopping an enhanced interactive experience that would allow the consumers to feel, touch, smell, and examine the product as if they were in the actual store, without the need to leave the house. I’m not sure if this disruption can be considered beneficial for the society, as it contributes to the increased human isolation and removes the social interaction from the transaction, but from purely technological standpoint, it is definitely favorable in the way it drives innovation and promotes scientific and technological progress.

  5. Joseph Belli

    The culture of the retail industry has definitely experienced a huge shift since the basic times of retail. Shoppers would take a brief trip to the store, with what they need to buy in mind, buy that product, then leave. However, there are many changes that influenced the way we shop. Technology, to start, has allowed shoppers to become interactive with the retailers by being able to shop wherever they are and whenever they want. As the use of smartphones increased, so did the availability of shopping by, again, increasing the interaction between customers and stores. Mobile applications for smartphones alone increased the exposure to businesses on a daily level and allowed people to receive information about stores the moment that information is released to the public through push-notifications. On another note, store associates are no longer necessary. I normally do extensive research on a product before purchasing it, normally not requiring the help of an associate. The internet simply allows me to prepare myself for shopping, which ultimately saves me time in the store. The overall layout of stores, such as Apple and Microsoft, have redesigned themselves to increase the interaction between the customer and the products. Simply walking in to either of these stores can persuade you to buy their products because you start playing around with them and convince yourself that you need that product in your life. Mobile payment is another aspect of retail that is making customers more apt to buy things, as consumers no longer need to carry cash or even credit cards, as their smartphone, which everyone always carries on them, can now have all credit card information and be scanned for payment.

    Physical stores are seemingly going out of style. The only time I ever go to a store is when I need groceries, necessities like shampoo or toothpaste, or just want something immediately and do not feel like waiting for shipping. I am an avid user of Amazon and am a prime member, allowing me to receive all of my orders within two business days and eliminating the need to go to the physical store, opening up more free time for other things. Many people think that it encourages customers to buy things when they can physically hold it and experience it in the store, however, this argument is no longer valid. Whenever I question the use of something, I simply look up reviews. Both written and video reviews eliminate that feel of requirement to go to a physical store and try out the product first hand. To me, seeing other people experience it and give their opinions is good enough for me, and, worst case scenario, I can just send the object back for return which is still less time-consuming than going to a store. Overall, the biggest appeal to present day online retail, is the amount of time you save by not having to go to a physical store.


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