How retailers can survive in an e-commerce world

Whether retailers like it or not, the new digital economy has stirred the pot, making it necessary to adjust and adapt to a completely new retail environment.

As consumer confidence buds, along with a healthy economy, retailers are poised to benefit from spending sprees galore. However, when it comes to a happy shopper, knowing your customer is everything, a business management expert told FOX Business on Wednesday.

“They’ve got to separate themselves from property owners – the likes of an Amazon or draw customers into the stores and get unique types of products that they can’t necessarily get online,” Gene Marks said on “Mornings with Maria.” “And the good thing about that is those products themselves, they come with higher margins.”

Big retailers can get a leg up on the e-commerce kings like Amazon, eBay and Alibaba if they learn to strike a balance between online commerce and brick-and-mortar stores, he said. Walmart, for example, announced a partnership last quarter with Microsoft to use its cloud to take on Amazon.

“Walmart is going to take advantage of a lot of the artificial intelligence technology that Microsoft offers and that’s what smart retailers are doing right now,” he said. “They want to know more about us even before we buy so they can make suggestions, and the big thing that a Walmart and a Target has that Amazon really doesn’t is they’ve got thousands of stores around the country.”

But they are not the only retailer taking measures to evolve as the retail landscape shifts. Target, for example, is reinvesting $7 billion over the next three years to revamp their stores by creating their own brands and enhancing the shopping experience by retraining employees and increasing their wages.

“Target is one of those retailers that are really doing something right,” he added. “They are learning and they are adapting and they are learning how to evolve in an e-commerce world.” 

Marks added that “smart retailers” are going a step further and preparing for the next generation of shoppers. Target recently launched three new brands aimed at younger generations.

“Generation Z is predicted to be soon even more in numbers than the millennial generation and these kids are going out there and starting to buy,” he said. “As a result, firms like Target, Nordstrom, even Walmart, are coming up with more branded and unique types of designs.”