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U of S researcher links retail innovation to success in wake of ‘Prime effect’

U of S researcher links retail innovation to success in wake of ‘Prime effect’
WATCH: A researcher explores what retailers need to do to be successful in the wake the "Prime effect."

It’s now easier than ever to shop online, rather than going into an actual store.

New research out of the University of Saskatchewan‘s Edwards School of Business is exploring the shift in the overall retail landscape and its cascading effects.

“It’s pretty wide-scale, it’s not just local retailers that are suffering,” management and marketing department faculty member Grant Wilson said.

He dubs it ‘The Prime Effect’ — in reference to Amazon Prime’s speedy delivery and affordable price.

“Essentially making it the same or easier to shop online than in-store,” Wilson explained.

READ MORE: Retailers in Saskatchewan feeling the effects of ‘showrooming’: CFIB survey

“Last year, [there were] 9,000 retail closures and some of these ones in [2018] were smaller retailers, but now it’s The Gap and Forever 21 — some of the big companies.”

With the convenience of online shopping, local businesses recognize they have to work to stay competitive during the holiday shopping season and beyond.

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“How we price things, especially board games and some of those things, we have to really lower the margins,” Amazing Stories Comics employee Jody Cason said.

“Definitely some of the bigger graphic novels they can offer a better price and so people do shop online.”

Wilson’s research explores how retailers can remain financially successful in the wake of ‘The Prime Effect.’ He said it’s all linked to innovation.

“Our study found of 225 retailers in western Canada — the difference between the top-performing ones and others was innovation,” he said.

“We often think innovation is new products or services but it can be more than that… It can be just the environment the business is operating in and getting your employees to think innovatively.”

READ MORE: Tips on how to defend yourself against porch pirates this holiday season

For Amazing Stories, that’s meant establishing a sense of community, including hosting in-store events.

“We have different clubs that meet here monthly,” Cason said.

“We do have a very loyal base of people who come in and shop with us. They really prefer to buy it from a local business, rather than do it online. It’s really reassuring.”

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Ultimately, Wilson said people still like to go out and shop, but thinks the pendulum will swing.

“I think we’ll continue to see online retailer growth and the successful innovative retailers physical ones will stay too.”