LOS GATOS, CA--(Marketwire - Nov 28, 2012) - It has been an incredible past year for the retail and e-commerce industries, especially as they pertain to local discovery shopping. New company introductions, market consolidation, pronounced social media influence and evolved retail tactics to drive consumers from online to in-store shopping are just a few of the themes that have defined 2012. But as another momentous year comes to a close, many are left to wonder what 2013 will have in store.
The following predictions are offered by Ben T. Smith IV, CEO of Wanderful Media™, a new digital local discovery shopping company based in Silicon Valley. They are based off conversations with media partners, industry experts and Wanderful Media customers.
Amazon will launch retail stores
Amazon is known as the 800-pound gorilla in retail e-commerce, with traditional retailers from "mom and pop" shops to Big Retail brick-and-mortar stores suffering from Amazon's predation. In its effort to become the world's one-stop shop, Amazon is extending its reach by rolling out local and specialized channels and offers such as same-day delivery at its local merchandise pick-up locations. The next logical step will be actual retail stores.
Same-day delivery from retail stores will become commonplace in major metros
In an effort to compete with physical retailers, e-commerce sites and the "bricks and clicks" retailers that offer both online and offline sales will provide same-day delivery. Historically online retailers have missed out on the instant gratification piece that physical stores deliver. With same-day delivery, online retailers offer something closer to the experience shoppers have when walking out of a physical store with merchandise. The thinking behind this same-day delivery strategy is to provide the best of both worlds for online shoppers -- lower prices and bigger selection -- and receiving your purchase the same day. We'll be seeing more same-day delivery from retail stores in 2013.
eBay will emerge as an important local retail company
This will come in multiple forms, one being eBay's interest in regional shoppers. eBay Now, which boasts product shipments to customers "about an hour" after the online order, is currently only available in San Francisco but has plans to expand all over California and in New York City. In the past year, we've seen eBay partner with different retail companies in the hopes of taking on Amazon. In 2013, eBay will not only continue that strategy but also offer customers discounts to local merchants based on what is purchased online. eBay will continue executing on the idea of delivering a local shopping experience.
Commercial real estate will face its own mortgage-like crisis
It has been predicted that there will be more than 30 percent of excess retail square footage over the next few years, which could deliver a commercial real estate crisis on a similar scale to the mortgage crisis of 2008. This has been exacerbated by the significant growth in retail store square footage before the recession. Retail store count exploded through the mid-2000s, and the size of the prototypical store increased dramatically as well. Retail square footage in the United States grew from 18.45 square feet per capita in 1999 to 23.06 square feet per capita in 2009. The hope among retailers (and commercial real-estate developers) was that as the recession faded and the economy began to grow again, retail productivity would improve.
More big retail stores will have chain specific bar codes to combat the negative impact from the 'showrooming' effect
Showrooming is the act of using a brick-and-mortar business as a "showroom" for the examination and testing of a product prior to purchasing online. Recent research cites that more than half of shoppers (56 percent) said they intended to engage in showrooming. Another 27 percent reported they would likely make purchases online with their smartphones and tablets while shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. This year, however, some retailers will deploy technology to try and capture those transactions at their own registers. Retailers are attempting to thwart lost sales due to showrooming by replacing standard bar codes with innovative chain-specific codes that cannot be scanned by smart phones. This trend will only grow as retailers begin to see success in their fight against showrooming.
'Daily Deals' will emerge from the penalty box as a viable business model
Against the odds, daily deal sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial will be recognized as a viable business model, despite going through a rough patch this year. Groupon has been stung by worries over accounting, the long-term viability of the business and less than stellar quarter-over-quarter results. LivingSocial also saw a sequential decline in third-quarter revenue. Despite this current state of the category, daily deals will evolve as a profitable business model, squashing Wall Street concerns by demonstrating an ability to expand sales and profits.
"In the year ahead, the retail, e-commerce and media markets are going to undergo an even greater shift than in recent years," commented Ben T. Smith, IV, CEO of Wanderful Media. "As the dust settles, new business models and retail leaders will emerge driven both by technology trends including mobile and social networking, and cultural trends, heralding the anticipated return to high-touch shopping and local customer engagement."
Ben T. Smith, IV is CEO of Wanderful Media, a Venture Partner at Accelerator Ventures and co-founder of MerchantCircle.com and Spoke.com. Ben blogs at btsiv.com and on Twitter at @bentsmithfour. Backed by a powerful group of media publishers to reinvent discovery shopping from web to mobile, Wanderful Media helps retail advertisers reach millions of consumers in more than 80 percent of U.S. markets. Wanderful Media already owns and operates the Find n Save® brand of over 270 local online discovery shopping sites covering 47 of the 50 top designated market areas (DMAs).
About Wanderful Media
Wanderful Media is a Silicon Valley company reinventing local discovery shopping. Providing reach into more than 80 percent of U.S. markets through trusted media brands, Wanderful Media helps retailers bring consumers into local stores and gives consumers the most convenient way to discover local merchandise. The company is backed by a powerful group of media companies including Advance Digital, A. H. Belo Corporation, Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., Cox Media Group, The E. W. Scripps Company, Gannett Co., Inc., GateHouse Media, Inc., Hearst Corporation, Lee Enterprises, MediaNews Group, The McClatchy Company, and The Washington Post Co.
Unlike price comparison, daily deal and couponing sites, Wanderful Media makes discovery shopping engaging, fun and social for consumers, wherever they are and however they shop -- tablet, mobile and web. The company's Find n Save® product offers local media affiliates a complete discovery shopping solution, designed to connect retail advertisers with millions of consumers. Wanderful Media is headquartered in Los Gatos, Calif. and on the web at www.wanderful.com.