winter stormBoston and much of the nation’s East Coast might have been buried under piles of snow during the winter of 2015, but the retail industry itself did not get buried. How can that be, considering roads were impassable for days in many areas, freezing temperatures were ideal for snowman survival and people were just plain miserable?

Red-important-stampIt used to be tough to talk EDI with a retailer: “Why should I replace a convenient FAX P/O that goes directly to the keypunch operator with a 'rip and read' document that must go through the data processing department before we ever get it?" The introduction of the electronic invoice caught their attention with faster payments. Now a host of new capabilities are available to help the retailer.

7 Eleven 1970 yearbookA few decades ago the concept of making buying items more convenient lead to the growth of the 'convenience store.' 7-Eleven and its ilk popped up across the country. They were small stores with a limited selection of products. You could park directly at the front door, walk in and out with your purchase in about 2 minutes. Very convenient - and also pretty expensive.

no-onlineIn retail, EVERYBODY must (or thinks they must), be prominent in e-retailing and omnichannel because of ALL the revenue. So Primark must be joking to think they can remain just simply brick & mortar? But when Sears shuts down stores, UK-based Primark buys them to expand into the US. Keep thinking of an old saying: “Jack of All Trades, and Master of None”. Bet Primark has heard of it.

bricklineAs long as we're making up words to describe retail strategies, how about 'Brickline' that is the combination of 'brick and mortar' and 'online'. If we look around us, there is a natural migration to the combination of physical stores and online convenience. We've been calling it Omnichannel for a while, but I think it's time for a change in terminology that better describes what retail customers want.