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‘Multi-Channeling’ Is A Dead Duck

National Online Retail Association (NORA) CEO Paul Greenberg predicts greener pastures for the retail industry in 2014, but says the term “online” is at the end of its shelf life. 

The emergence of ‘click and collect’ and other holistic retail options by bricks and mortar make it hard to delineate between the two channels. There is now a “natural blurring” of physical and online retail, he told ChannelNews in an interview.

The online entrepreneur not a fan of the terms ‘multi channel’ either, which big name retailers like David Jones, Harvey Norman and Myer have all adopted as a core retail strategy. Retailers invented these terms as a “natural anxiety,” says the NORA boss, who describes his organisation set up just last year, as a “new retail” body.   

Trying to define a channel and obsessing over off and online, or click versus bricks is wrong. “Retail has always been heterogeneous.” “Paths to purchase are taking a million turns” and trying to attribute to one channel is a “dangerous game,” warns Greenberg, co-founder of site Deal Direct and Auctionbrokers.com.au.   

“The retail industry should stop creating channel anxiety as customers don’t think like that.” New retail should be viewed as a global opportunity as opposed to a threat, although admits a lot of players were washed out by the ecommerce revolution.  
The key beneficiaries to this new online world are established bricks and mortar retailers, who were initially “slow to move”, but now starting to respond to customer needs.

“Oz retail finally get it” he says, noting “green shoots” from December’s retail figures.All retail forecasts points to strong, at least double digit growth for New Retail in 2014. IbisWorld predicts growth of 12% this year, while PwC and Frost & Sullivan tip a 14% annual growth by 2016, with online sales worth $26.9 billion. 

“Now is a good time to be in retail,” he says although is reluctant to make online sales predictions, saying “we must keep up with the shopper” where ever they choose to purchase.