Is E-Commerce Killing The Merchant Buyer?

by MR Magazine Staff

It’s a swiftly evolving retail world, where department stores grapple with reinvention, direct-to-consumer startups proliferate and even top brands like Nike fuel direct sales on marketplaces. It’s tempting to see the traditional retail buyer as an endangered creature. Shoppers are now doing half of their online spending through marketplaces, and that could rise to two-thirds in five years, according to a report last year from Forrester Research. That diminishment of the middleman has prompted retail gurus like Doug Stephens, author of “Reengineering Retail: The Future of Selling in a Post-Digital World,” to proclaim that “the future of retail is the end of wholesale.” But there’s still plenty of action in the middle, others say, thanks in part to technology that has improved speed-to-market and customization. As a result, the retail buyer is better equipped than ever, for example, to stock shelves with the right merchandise. “[Wholesale is] not going anywhere,” Kristin Savilia, CEO of wholesale platform Joor, said in an interview with Retail Dive. “In fact there’s a very strong move of pure-players doing stores. Direct-to-customer is a very expensive endeavor for brands, in part because e-commerce is more expensive than stores. A lot of brands are just not capable. In the age of Amazon, if you’re not doing one-day shipping or two-day shipping, what are you doing?” Read more at Retail Dive.