It’s impossible to open up a business publication today without reading something about the changing landscape of retail. First, the mom-and-pop shops disappeared, then established retail doors started closing, and now some big box staples are shutting down.
There is nuance, of course. Some categories – consumer electronics, for example – have faced a steeper downturn than others, but it’s impossible to deny the fundamental shift that’s underway. Yet relatively little is made of what is a leading indicator of this shift: the decline of traditional retail as a system for distributing product information, advice and recommendations.