Retail Apocalypse in 2019 and What does this mean for Small Businesses

Retail Apocalypse in 2019 and What does this mean for Small Businesses

2018 has seen a lot of highs and lows for retail companies. There has been a shift in the way the world buys and the effects of this change are being seen everywhere. From closures of major Toys ‘R’ Us, Sears, Payless, Macy’s and Gap stores across the US, just to name a few. To the emergence of niche brands and small businesses expanding into physical locations and taking the newly super integrated e-commerce by storm.



What does it all mean? Who do these trends really affect and what does it mean for the market players.


 The way we buy is changing. With the development of new technology and the daily advancements of apps and platforms, we use more of them, we use new ones more often and we use old ones in ever increasing new ways. The wave of e-commerce brought about a wealth of change for businesses, now, even more so with the addition of multiple platform integration. The internet has basically been made into an open market for buying and selling. This means product suppliers/creators, distributors and fulfilment agencies have to adapt to changing times. Our retail apocalypse could really be a metamorphosis in the making.



It is easy to believe that there is a retail apocalypse happening. We usually associate the term with some colossal end and mass destruction, and we would be halfway correct. An apocalypse can also be defined as a revelation or a very serious event, resulting in great destruction and change. The closure of several retail giants and chapter 11 bankruptcy filings, can surely be deemed as a destructive event, an event of removing old market practices for new ones. Many retailers are also opting to downsize or integrate new technology or schemes aligned with e-commerce strategies to market their businesses.




Where do niches and small businesses fall into this? Usually, these businesses fall into the category of those more in touch with their consumer base and their needs due to their size. The move to more experience and culture based buying patterns means a greater authentic experience demand and a supply from only those equipped to meet it. People are really taking a greater interest in paying attention to businesses, expert in the product/service they are looking for, as opposed to a large one-cap-fits-all retailer that may benefit from mass production as opposed to a uniquely tailored brand/goods, that are also conscious and culturally aware. This is telling in things such as the Gucci scandal and “social cancelling” in 2019 and the increase in the #blackownedbusiness and #supportblackbusiness hashtag trends.


The “grassroots” advantage, however, is one aspect on the spectrum. Usually, big businesses are able to afford to adapt quickly to the insatiable needs of consumers. Small businesses and niches, they have to be more mindful of strategies needed to adapt to changing technology and buying practices, quicker response times and convenient shipping options. Expansion and pricing strategies will also have to be atop the lists of to-do’s in 2019 retail strategies for small businesses and niches, as greater efficiency will become key in improving their brand as the e-commerce super integration change begins to take place.

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  • Arianne Cedeno