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Interesting conversation I had with my manager today

Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
825
As many of you know, I recently became a playstation rep. It has been going extremely well, but I had an interesting conversation with my manager on the phone this morning when I was reminiscing with him about my Target days.

This is nothing at all official, just his opinion and what he has "heard".

Basically he was telling me that the general feeling among CEO's and other big wigs at a lot of companies that have a retail presence is that they expect retail to be dead to them within the coming years. (literally within 5-10 years) Basically, what they are expecting is that general merchandise retail as we know it is going to way of the dinosaur. When I told him about my last years at Target, all the hours/benefits cuts, the sudden lack of concern about store appearance, etc he told me that this is basically because retailers are on a multi-year "phase out". Eventually he says companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo won't have any presence at all at general retailers. He thinks this will expand to other industries as well, such as toys/electronics/etc. Eventually he says retailers like Target and Wal-mart will be an almost total food/consumables/clothing industry, and that they are laying the ground work for it right now. Basically he was kind of warning me that I need to "find my place" at Sony other than being a playstation rep before then.

I got to thinking that this actually makes a lot of sense, and he could be on to something. My boss actually has over 20 years of experience with Sony, and has had some pretty major management positions in the past, so he knows what the industry is planning.

I have heard a lot of rumors that if Microsoft actually releases the next Xbox without a disc drive (which is the current rumor), that we might do the same thing. Not necessarily with PS4, but for sure by PS5.

But now that I am on the "other side", and having been on the retail side of things, a lot of these trends are starting to become clear to me.

Take a look at what Apple and Microsoft are doing with their operating systems. Microsoft is rolling out a store that is actually integrated in to Windows 8. Apple has already done this. Nearly every single retailer has started to make downloadable content available. For example, instead of buying movies/music/games and having them shipped to you, sites like Best Buy, Gamestop, Amazon.com, and tons others now encourage you to just buy the digital version and download. Hell, Apple just removed the DVD drive from the Mac Mini, and if you follow apple fan forums there are tons of rumors they are going to do the same at the next iMac/Macbook refresh. In other words, even apple is planning for DVDs/Blurays from stores being gone. Also, look at how many retailers have gone completely bankrupt in the past years. Circuit city, blockbuster, hollywood video, etc. These places aren't coming back, and I don't see anyone coming along to replace them. You can forget about books too. With tablets making a huge push in the market you probably won't be seeing a book section at Target 5 years from now.

To top things off, if Microsoft ends up removing the disc drive from their next system that would seriously cut their retail presence. They would have zero games to sell in stores at that point, and if Sony and Nintendo follow them.... well, guess what? That just eliminated a huge chunk of the retail electronics business. Retail stores would only be able to sell consoles and accessories at that point.... and anyone that works in electronics knows how often those sell once a system has been out for 2 or so years.

Then I started to think about my last few years at Target. We went from making guest service and store presentation a top priority to being almost a joke. Walk in any Target (or most other retail stores) today and compare it to a few years ago. A few years ago there were tons of employees, now the store is almost empty of employees on the floor. Then consider the fact the company just cut out a ton of health benefits, and has been slowly eliminating positions every year. Certainly seems like they planning on cutting a ton of retail operations.

I also thought about P-fresh. Target and other retailers are making a much bigger push for consumables/food. (which is exactly what my manager was telling me was going to be going on)

Anyway, it was just a very eye opening conversation that I thought I would share. If he is right, in the next few years stores like Target might not even have an electronics/MMB section. And if other industries decide to move online (such as toys, luggage, etc) well damn.... Retail would be on its way to dieting out with the exception of food/consumables and a few other select departments. Exactly like my manager stated was the long term plan.

Just makes you think that ten, twenty years from now there may not even be anyone left working retail. It would be grocery/fast food.... and that's pretty much it for the service sector.
 
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The Mule

Jack Of All Workcenters
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
344
I can agree that the scope of retail will change in the coming years, but I can't honestly see a world without a physical presence for goods like that. The market is just beginning for streaming services, and even then they can't compete with a full disk with all of it's additional content that you get. The console industry may not need or want disc access for their own needs but they will almost certainly include them as an additional convenience to the consumer. Look at Sony's incorporation of Blu-ray in the PS3 and what an impact that had on it's adoption. Apple with it's vaunted "App Store" is still in need of a retail presence with their own stores that keep popping up. Online needs no retail presence? Take a look at Valve's Steam platform as they have developed a nice hybrid approach to having a digital distribution system while still maintaining a physical retail presence for those in need of it. There's also the need of people to be able to just go to a local store and get something rather than waiting for shipping and hoping they are there for delivery. I myself will simply not buy certain goods unless I can get my hands on it and confirm certain aspects of it's construction.

As for the benefits/hours/employees being reduced, that's just about across the board still in any job market these days. There is a slow growth happening in the job market as a whole right now, but it also still has a lot of damage to rebound against.

I'm 35 and either through my parents or my own employment history have bore witness to the retail market changing scope for over 30 years now(and yes, I can explicitly tell you of what happened at that young of an age). It has grown and shrunk, leaned this way and that and reared it's monstrous head at some of the game changing moments, but it has continued on to everyone's surprise. I'm not saying there aren't reasons to see the prospect that your manager is telling you, just that it be taken with a grain of salt. After all, if we were to believe half of the things that have been predicted in the last 30 years alone we'd in a lot different of a place. Still waiting on that promise of computers eliminating the need for physical paperwork.
 

mrknownothing

purveyor of things
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
10,148
Still waiting on that promise of computers eliminating the need for physical paperwork.
Just wait until Business Walks have to be typed and there's only two functional computers for all the TLs to use to work on them.
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2012
Messages
3
make senses

Hmmm my comment may sound silly but this sounds like the "british era" USA was tired of paying high taxes. free from british big money to USA. Same as business with retail...
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Messages
710
Just wait until Business Walks have to be typed and there's only two functional computers for all the TLs to use to work on them.
LOL
theyll be incorporated into a pda task list long before then. and they'll be scored for completion on dtk. then when your network crashes, and you send it up, they'll still say "sorry. we cannot adjust your scores. dtk is only a guide for excellence and does not reflect in your performance reviews." ;)

this could happen, but given the aging sector and how it's only gonna increase, there will still be too many folks yelling "get off my lawn" to make b&m categories go away 100%.
 
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mrknownothing

purveyor of things
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
10,148
LOL
theyll be incorporated into a pda task list long before then. and they'll be scored for completion on dtk. then when your network crashes, and you send it up, they'll still say "sorry. we cannot adjust your scores. dtk is only a guide for excellence and does not reflect in your performance reviews." ;)
And even though you won't have time to complete them, you'll still be expected to submit all of them without working off the clock. Because they'll know if you worked on it on a non-Target computer.
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2012
Messages
247
Well Target still carries CD's.. and by today's standards they are certainly outdated..
(Not to me though, I love having physical copies for when my iPOD runs out of juice)
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Messages
113
While I agree with your managers sentiments to an extent, bear in mind that many people would like to "see" before they "buy". The only thing I can see Target ceasing to carry in the coming years would be video/computer games and music/movies... and possibly books. Those are all mediums that will be online/download if the entertainment industry has their way. What Target will still sell will be things like TVs, tablets, e-readers, computers, and other accessories required to consume such media.
 
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