Location strategies and retail disruption: from trade areas to customer moments

Authors: Tony Hernandez*, Ryerson University
Topics: Business Geography
Keywords: Retail, business model, customer behaviour
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Bacchus, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Over the last decade the retail industry has been subject to widespread disruption. Traditional retail business models have been challenged by the growth of e-retail influenced behaviours and transactions. Many bricks-and-mortar retailers have grappled with ‘omni-channel’ retail models and have increasingly questioned the use of the retail spaces they operate from. Conversely, several major pure play online retailers have moved toward ‘phygital’ strategies, in an attempt to blend the physical and digital realms of retail. Given these changes, the discipline of retail geography should be at the forefront of understanding contemporary retail activities and predicting the trajectory of the retail industry from a locational perspective. To fully embrace this new retail geography this paper argues that there needs to be a significant shift in the way in which retail location is conceptualized (and taught), from both a demand and supply perspective. The paper presents an exploratory conceptual framework that is centred on the concept of customer journeys and specifically aims to map out the locational imprint of contemporary e-retail influenced behaviours. The paper concludes with a series of critical questions that the discipline of retail geography needs to address to maintain relevance in an increasingly complex retail environment.

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