According to Oliver Samwer, co-founder of Rocket Internet and major shareholder of Zalando, offline retail is on its last legs. Even multichannel will not survive for long in the opinion of the 39-year old internet investor, although of course he is not really unprejudiced.
Multichannel is “act of desperation”
Samwer made his bold statements during an e-commerce congress in Mülheim, Germany. His prediction that e-commerce will keep on growing for at least another twenty years will surprise no one. More astonishing is the statement that he does not believe in the multichannel strategy currently implemented by more and more retailers, which he describes to be an “act of desperation”: a final but insufficient stand in the realisation that “their end is near” and “they are getting to old”.
According to Samwer, the main cause is the average service level in the majority of physical stores, which he deems to be just abominable: “90% of all salespeople are just bad”. He believes that only one in five offline retailers will make it in the end: “The absolutely professional offline retailers will survive, but 80% will not make it”.
Amazon to become number one
The coup of online retail will bring forth some big changes: Samwer thinks that within ten years Amazon will be the highest rated company in the world, coinciding with the highest stock market value.
Oliver Samwer believes traditional retailers stuck with real estate for far too long, instead of choosing for the internet. “Take the family that owns Walmart for example: they are annoyed they did not buy Amazon when it was worth only twenty billion dollar. Today it would cost them at least a hundred million dollar. Only now they have seen the light and are they starting to invest in online.”