The Changing Face of Commerce

Stefan Goigitzer

Dec 2018

During the last years, the headline „The Changing Face of Commerce“ could be increasingly read in various market reports, magazines, newsletters and newspapers. What was meant by that is Commerce versus E-Commerce. 

When I look back, Commerce was always the industry sector adapting the quickest, to new market situations. Commerce has always been in movement. Starting with the mom-and-pop grocery store at the corner to the supermarket, via franchise stores, company owned stores, flagship stores – because size matters – leading to concept stores. In addition, I got to know many other sizes and types as well as names for stores in my relatively short time of 14 years, in which I have been allowed to work for the stationary retail market. 

Apart from the brands that disappeared (Schöps, Niedermeyer, bauMax, etc.) or newly entered the market (&other stories, TK Maxx, CCC etc.), this development was and is completely normal, only the speed has massively changed. 

However, after the expo and above all a very exciting Mapic in Cannes, I dare to use another flowery phrase: the flexible stationary trade is alive. 
The stationary trade has accepted the challenge and is not competing against E-Commerce, but will much rather integrate it into the existing real estate landscape. 
Omnichannel or Multichannel and Speed are the new buzzwords. It is possible that stores will therefore get smaller, because warehousing will move to logistics, as on-demand production is increasing versus months in advance. 

With these challenges, the requirements for space configurations are increasing and at the same time, rental costs for little flexible locations, are getting under pressure. I had many exciting conversations with representatives of established brands from the stationary trade, who are now pushing again into Austria. What is more, E-Commerce is increasingly discovering the stationary side of the business and as a consequence, many brands will become tenants of the high-streets in this world. 

What is interesting, is the development of individual Viennese sub markets, still lively 30 years ago – meanwhile even declared dead – and now, freshly re-discovered: the retail market is back in the district streets of Vienna. The reasons for that are on the one hand the traffic volume as well as the ecological footprint, but above all, it is now hip for new concepts to enliven local areas. 

Finally, I would like to say that the world is turning, Commerce is changing and adapting, the same as in all centuries before. What we can wave good-bye to, are long-term agreements. Because what is right today and tomorrow, might be totally different the day after tomorrow. However today, I am truly convinced that I will be able to still work for a long time in the high-street area and will continue to accompany the expansion of exciting established and new concepts, and that the inner cities definitely will not be re-modeled to over dimensional packaging and pick-up stations. 

In this sense, I wish all retailers – regardless if stationary or online  much success in the New Year!