by Bob James and Michael Hatch

Brick-and-mortar chain store owners everywhere are sweating “the retail apocalypse.” Traffic is abysmal. Sales have tanked. Stores are vanishing (over 8,600 are predicted to close this year). Job losses, bankruptcies and liquidations are legion. A tidal wave of disruption is shaking retailers to the core.

Could an “apocalypse” beset association shows, as well?

To be sure, brick-and-mortar retail is not going away—and neither are shows. But the lessons retailers are learning apply to any business that depends on foot traffic.

Let’s look at just one.

Lesson: the wounds are self-inflicted

Disruptors like Amazon, of course, have captured tons of retail market share. “But much of what ails [traditional] retail is self-inflicted,” says retail consultant Steven Dennis.

“Retailers’ organizational silos get in the way of delivering an experience that is unified across channels and touch-points,” Dennis says. “Traditional players’ reluctance to move away from one-size-fits-all marketing strategies fail…

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Posted by Elizabeth McQuade

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