Sector Focus 

Multichannel retailing – the cracks are showing

Multichannel retailing – the cracks are showing

Almost 10 years ago, in the wake of the last financial crisis, consulting firm McKinsey & Company published a report entitled The promise of multichannel retailing. As e-commerce started to gather pace, the authors of the report argued that the only way for retailers to emerge successfully from the ruins of the financial crisis was to pursue a ‘multi-channel’ business model. This meant broadening out from physical outlets in strip malls and shopping plazas, and funnelling more investment into online wholesale, licensing and even catalogue commerce. The idea was that a diversified revenue stream – based on offering customers different ways to shop, and businesses new ways to earn money – harnessed the power of the internet, rather than yielding to it. It represented a pragmatic approach at a time of industry flux, but almost a decade on has the approach really insulated retailers from the upheaval of the sector in the passing years?

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