48% drop in store visits in three years

There were 34 billion visits to US stores in 2010. By 2013, that number had plummeted 48% to 17.6 billion, according to Elite Wealth Management. As consumers make more of their purchases online, the challenge of engaging consumers in store is accelerating the rise of ‘experiential shopping’.”
David Kelnar
in a fascinating trend analysis on Medium.

Are you surprised by the headline percentage? Clearly online purchases are rising, but 48% is a massive drop in physical store visits, with massive implications if it continues apace.

It talks to the efficiencies of digitisation and the changes in business models that go with it. Since the digitisation of business relies on communications technologies, it also highlights the increased dependence of modern businesses on their networks as an essential delivery channel.

The modern service provider has noticed this shift and is transitioning from a communications service provider (CSP – the provider of telephony and data services to act as business enablers) to digital service providers (DSP – the provider of digital services to enable digital business customers). The shift from CSP to DSP is causing a shift in which assets are most important to the modern service provider (as dictated by what is more important for the customer).

Phone attendants are a more expensive medium for a business to offer because they require people to be available to take calls. Digital channels like digital chat will become progressively cheaper as automated chat bot technologies get better at handling customer requests.

The OSS of today service the legacy business model of CSPs. They’re evolving to meet the infrastructure needs of the DSP model through managing and maintaining virtualised network assets and associated hyperscaling technologies. However, are you seeing a corresponding evolution to handle the other side of the DSP model, the apps and content that their customers see as the true enablers of their digital businesses? The DSP needs to find solutions that help their customers to thrive as digital businesses and those solutions will need operational support tools.

This could still be classed as a niche of operational support systems, but not as we know traditional OSS. It’s the managing of software and contracts and content as services rather than cables and devices and channels and circuits. It’s a more IT-style of service operation than a traditional telco, so can we expect more IT-style of thinking to pervade the oss/OSS of the DSPs of the future?

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2 thoughts on “48% drop in store visits in three years

  1. This is indeed a very interesting debate. What I often hear from telco’s is the lack of scalability of IT tools & processes (I do not know of an IT organization that has to manage say 10 million of users). This might change with IoT. E.g. the IT organization of a car manufacturer might eventually need to manage, in addition to its internal customers (several 1000s), its external customers (many millions) because the connected car will push it into the role of a DSP.

  2. Hi Roland,
    Absolutely! The IoT / sensor network ecosystem is a massive opportunity (and massive challenge).
    The carriers who are thinking that IoT is a carriage opportunity are taking legacy CSP thinking. The ones that are thinking of providing the ecosystems, the APIs, etc that allow third party developers to build tools / services to manage sensor pools are using DSP thinking. Scalability is definitely the issue as there are 10x, 100x, 1000x sensors for every current service (ie the Touchpoint Explosion).
    Connected cars (and their remote support ala Tesla) are a brilliant example of wrapping DSP services around CSP assets. Thanks for sharing Roland!

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