Retail Evolution

Essay by deevar007University, Bachelor'sA-, March 2006

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Retailing is an ancient art that has been practiced from the early years of mankind. In any format, retailing involves the sale of goods and services to the final consumer. It has evolved over the years from being a form of barter to the very technologically sophisticated e-tailing present in modern days. As consumers have become more sophisticated and savvy retail has evolved accordingly.

'Bringing stores to shoppers-not shoppers to stores' is one such evolutionary trend emerging in retail. This statement by G Davies makes the obvious relationship with current trends in the retail environment. The ever changing process of retail evolution has resulted in consumers currently being wary of the traditional retail experience. Consumers want more for their money, with time and convenience being of the utmost importance.

Current retail theories which can be categorized as either cyclical or non-cyclical easily support this new trend. Both these theories allow for innovation and have concepts which drive the natural evolutionary changes evident in retail.

Retailing is different from other types of businesses in that it requires attracting consumers and sufficient customer traffic to be viable. Retail business will not succeed if they can not attract customers and their ability to attract customers is not simply a function of their own business; it depends on their inter-action with other businesses. Thus, retail has always looked to foster environments where consumers are comfortable enough to return again and again.

A closer examination of the four prominent retail evolution theories, wheel of retailing, the retail life cycle, environment and conflict theory, is needed to get a better understanding of the concept of bringing stores to the consumer. Each theory demonstrates the advantages and disadvantages of this new trend.

Retail has evolved over the years in various ways. For example, in the 80s off-price...