The Omni-Channel Gamut

Retail in the US, traditionally started with the mom and pops around the corner in the early 1900s.

‘Cash and carry’ was the model customers followed with the limited choice of merchandise sold in such small stores. And then departmental chains started in the 1920s, it was just when the automobile came into existence.

As the country was growing, people started moving into suburbs, open-air malls started in the 50s and 60s. Southdale Center, popularly referred as Southdale in Edina, Minnesota is the oldest mall in the united states with 1,30,000 sq. ft. and occupied by about 123 retail tenants.

And the 70s and 80s were full of a massive expansion of large chains, discount stores and category killers spreading rapidly across the country, hurting all the small mom and pops.

Then finally, in the 90s is when eCommerce started with Amazon era or the rise of asset-lite business models.

Fast forward 30 years, Lowes operates 1850 stores in US, Canada, and Mexico. Home Depot with 2,240 stores in the competing DIY (Do It Yourself) space. Wal-Mart has about 11,853 stores in 28 countries, in the US alone 90% of Americans live within 15 miles from a Wal-Mart store. Kohls with 1,162 stores in 49 US states. CVS has about 9000 stores in the US, Walgreens with 8000 stores. Costco has about 800 warehouses. Ross, the discount store has about 1250 locations in the US.

But the large store expansion model is almost out of fashion now.

  • Adding more stores to serve more consumers is old retailing
  • Adding new servers to serve more consumers must be the new retailing

Further reading at Amazon.