By Jami Gibson

The retail landscape has been changing drastically over the years, and it seems that every week, I see a new article about a retail chain closing stores, declaring bankruptcy, or laying off employees. Just this past week, Michigan saw the bankruptcy and subsequent store closings of MC Sports, as well as the announcement of a complete shutdown of all Family Christian stores nationwide. Other retailers that have experienced closings recently include Staples, Kmart, Sears, JC Penney, and Macy’s. Brick-and-mortar stores are in a tough spot, losing sales to e-retailers yet still having substantial real estate investments. According to First Research, here are a few trends and opportunities retailers can use to bolster their business:

Internet Sales
With e-retail giants, such as Amazon and eBay, to compete with, it’s imperative that traditional brick-and-mortar stores utilize online sales and marketing opportunities. This saves the customer time and gas and is especially convenient if store returns of online purchases are accepted.

Delivery Strategy
Retailers that can use their stores as distribution hubs can expedite the shipping to clients from the closest location. They can also offer in-store pickup for items ordered online, usually waiving shipping fees.

Increased Diversity
The diversity of our country’s population is increasing. Therefore, companies that can address the different preferences, needs, and attitudes of a variety of buyers will be able to appeal to a wider audience through marketing and merchandising.

Loyalty Programs
Rewarding customers with discounts and incentives can help retain their loyalty. These programs also collect vital information about consumer shopping habits, which can then be used to help make marketing efforts more effective.

Source: First Research