Online Shopping Killed Retail … But Now It’s Coming Back To Save It

by MR Magazine Staff

Brick-and-mortar retailers are looking for salvation in an unlikely place: The e-commerce rivals blamed with causing their recent challenges in the first place. On Monday, Macy’s announced that it had tapped a top eBay executive as its new president as part of a broader overhaul. Former senior vice president of eBay North America Hal Lawton will be installed as the department store’s new president beginning next month. Macy’s said it also is consolidating management of its merchandising, planning and private brands into a single department, a change that will cost around 100 jobs. The company heralded the changes as a step forward. “With Hal on the team, we will accelerate the integration of digital both online and in our stores,” Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette said in a statement. “The growth area is definitely online versus in stores,” said Bridget Weishaar, senior equity analyst at Morningstar. “Investing in people who have a background in and a deep knowledge in how to execute on that makes a whole lot of sense,” she said. Some experts even say traditional retailers’ survival might depend on this strategy. “They need to massively strengthen their presence and expertise in internet commerce and mobile commerce in order to even have a chance of meaningfully competing with online behemoths like Amazon. Otherwise, the chance of their survival is low,” Anindya Ghose, a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, told NBC News. “We’re starting to see a lot of those traditional retailers go into that transition themselves,” said Tiffany Hogan, senior analyst, U.S. apparel at Kantar Retail. “There really isn’t a department store that’s not focusing on digital, so I would say there has to be more to the story than getting a good leader.” Read more at NBC News.