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The Next 12 Months Critical for Main Street

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In 2013, being GAFA compliant will be more important than ever.

Remember our discussions on GAFA (Google = Local Search, Apple = Apps, Facebook = Social Media, Amazon = One-Click Shopping) Compliance? As 2012 comes to an end and yearly earnings are totaled, the impact of being GAFA compliant has never been more evident.

The Wall Street Journal had an article yesterday on how for four major retailers, 2013 is do or die time. Best Buy has been plagued by a retail phenomenon called “showrooming,” where shoppers examine products in its stores but purchase online through rivals. JC Penney’s attempt to makeover its image as a bargain department store has left it burning through cash and struggling to attract shoppers. RadioShack’s decision to bet on smartphones and tablets has backfired; while they have sold more of these low-margin devices, they made less money than selling old standards like cameras and computers. And though they have tried everything from in-store boutiques to “Costco-like” membership programs, Sears sales and profits continue to slide.

Increasingly cautious customers and fierce online competition have riddled these chains, but imagine the trickle down affect this is having on Main Street. If a Main Street retailer doesn’t have a way to compete with online retailers, lure customers through social media marketing, give the consumer a reason to choose them over the alternatives or have an answer for Amazon’s coming “same day shipping”, they won’t be able to survive 2013.

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