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即便电子商务做得好,也不能彻底抛弃实体店

Phil Wahba 2017年04月09日

一些商家发现,在它们关闭了实体店,同地区的网上销售额也随之出现下滑。

在这个艰难的假日季过后,许多大型零售商都开始着力削减成本。杰西潘尼(J.C. Penney)、梅西百货(Macy’s)和西尔斯百货(Sears)都宣布,由于消费者越来越倾向于网上购物,他们将关闭数十家实体店。不过情况本来可能还会更加糟糕。说也奇怪,正是这种电子商务的趋势——这也是大部分零售商在假日季的业绩亮点——才让更多的实体店免于被淘汰。

这种违反直觉的策略原理如下:传统零售商若要抵抗亚马逊(Amazon)的统治,就应该把实体店作为线上销售的当地支撑。虽然它能否取得成功还是个未知数,不过零售业的许多首席执行官都在最近的收入电话会议上推崇了这种想法。

科尔士百货公司(Kohl’s)在假日季的线上销量创造了历史新高,然而公司的整体销售额却下滑严重。公司表示,现在有三分之一的网上订单都是通过地面店提取或邮寄的方式完成的(此举平均节省了半天的快递时间)。

在杰西彭尼,90%的网店退货都会流入实体店,这让公司有机会从顾客那里获得更多销售额。

塔吉特(Target)则表示,有四分之三的美国人都住在他们的实体店十英里之内,这有助于他们更快完成订单,那些消费者现在越来越希望商品在几个小时,而不是几天内送到。

科尔士称,公司的数据有力支撑了实体店有助于网店销售的理论。他们发现,在去年关闭18家门店后,这些门店附近地区贡献的线上销售额也下跌了10%,一些消费者完全忘记了这家连锁店。根据这项发现,科尔士计划缩小200家门店的规模,而不是彻底关掉它们。

与此同时,百思买(Best Buy)等零售商认为会有更多的技术帮助实体店提升销量。例如,百思买就给员工配备了手持设备,假如某款电视机没货了,它们就可以告诉消费者附近店面是否还有库存。百思买近年来一直努力避免关闭实体店,公司的首席执行官休伯特•乔利表示:“在实体店,科技可以成为我们最好的朋友。”

然而,零售商无法逃避的事实是,实体店销量的下滑比网店销量的上涨更快。到最后,零售商可能只是在推迟它们死亡的时日罢了。

咨询公司AlixPartners的零售业务联席主管乔尔•拜恩斯表示,黄金地段高昂的不动产成本,使得维持实体店的代价很大。相反,网店的货仓都设在地段很便宜、员工工资也很低的地方。

拜恩斯说:“这些年来我们的实体店关闭大潮即将来临,而且还将持续很多很多年。”(财富中文网)

译者:严匡正

After a tough holiday season, many big- box retailers went on a cost-cutting binge. J.C. Penney, Macy’s, and Sears all announced that they would shutter dozens of stores each as shoppers increasingly shift online. But the carnage could have been much worse. Oddly enough, it was that very shift to e-commerce—the one bright spot for most retailers during the holidays—that spared even more stores from the reject rack.

The counterintuitive strategy boils down to this: If traditional retailers have any hope of countering Amazon’s dominance, it’s by using their brick-and-mortar stores as local arms of their online businesses. Whether or not that’s ultimately successful, a number of retail CEOs touted the idea during recent earnings calls.

Kohl’s, which had record online sales over the holidays while its overall business slumped badly, says that one-third of online orders are now either picked up in its stores or shipped by one (shaving a half-day off its average delivery time).

At J.C. Penney, 90% of e-commerce returns are handled in a store, giving the company another chance to wring more sales from those customers.

And Target says three-quarters of Americans live within 10 miles of one of its stores, an edge that it claims will help it deliver online orders more quickly to shoppers who increasingly want their merchandise in a couple of hours, not a couple of days.

Kohl’s says it has data to back up the theory that brick-and-mortar stores help online sales. Last year, after closing 18 stores, it found that online sales at nearby addresses fell 10%, as some shoppers forgot about the chain altogether. Based on those findings, Kohl’s plans to shrink 200 stores instead of closing any of them.

Meanwhile, retailers like Best Buy believe that more technology will lift store sales. For example, Best Buy has armed workers with handheld ¬devices that can show customers whether nearby stores have a particular TV that is otherwise out of stock. “In the stores, technology can be our best friend,” says Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly, whose company has avoided closing stores in recent years.

Still, the inescapable reality for retailers is that store sales are falling faster than e-commerce can make up for. In the end, retailers may only be postponing their day of reckoning.

High real estate costs in prime locations make it expensive to keep stores open, says Joel Bines, cohead of retail for consulting firm AlixPartners. E-commerce warehouses, in contrast, are typically built on cheap land and where wages are low.

Says Bines: “The wave of store closings we’ve been predicting for years is upon us, and it’s going to last for many, many years.”

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