Experts say retailers need to keep up with trends as shopping habits change

Shopping Trends Shift

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Monday kicks off Amazon Prime Day and online shoppers are expected to flood the internet for the next two days to score deals on hot products.

Prime Day comes as many people are taking fewer trips to brick-and-mortar stores, making it difficult for some retail brands to prosper. There is no doubt e-commerce giants like Amazon have changed the shopping culture over the past decade, making it easy and convenient for shoppers to purchase just about any item - from household essentials and clothing to furniture - all with a click of a button.

A recent report from Coresight Research shows nearly 6,000 stores are expected to close this year. Robert Salvino, director of the Grant Center at Coastal Carolina University, said discount stores such as TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Dollar General, and outlet malls are still doing very well.

However, it’s the traditional department stores like Macy’s and Sears that are taking the biggest hit and becoming a “dying” brand. Experts say when it comes down to the shift in spending, entertainment has become a big part of the spending power consumers have and fashion apparel becomes less of a priority.

In Myrtle Beach, retailers at sites like The Market Common and Coastal Grand Mall have closed and different businesses are replacing them, according to Salvino. He said especially in a tourist-driven area, it’s the experience people are looking for and businesses like restaurants and attractions like Topgolf are what thrive along the Grand Strand.

“If you look at what does work here, you see your restaurants, you see Topgolf come in and occupy a fantastically sized space, and so the experiences, you have two major demographic events where you have millennials and baby boomers, a significant size of the population. Both of them are at periods in their lives where they have time for leisure and they’re interested in leisure. So, they they’re interested in that they can buy the things they need online from Amazon or from discount stores, but then when they spend their money out in the brick-and-mortar retail, it’s for experiences, it’s for restaurants,” said Salvino.

He added that retailers need to realize the full customer service experience is what can set them apart and help attract more customers.

Salvino said many retailers are having to constantly reinvent themselves, noting that online businesses are now moving into the brick-and-mortar space to provide that unique experience for shoppers too.

“It’s a question of which producers in retail are succeeding and which producers are struggling? And just like any other time period in history with any type of technological innovation, there are those that are having to reinvent themselves. Some will not be able to reinvent themselves,” he said.

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