Welcome to The Backroom, a window into what goes on behind the scenes as the Retail Dive team covers the stories and trends reshaping retail. You can check out all our podcast episodes (past and present) here and listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and Spotify.
Traditional retailers have a complicated relationship with e-commerce. Unlike Amazon (which pays no dividends to its growth-minded shareholders and runs a lucrative cloud business), and many DTC companies (which are often backed by venture capitalists or enjoy similar patience from shareholders), they're under pressure to make a profit.
Of course, the pandemic only boosted e-commerce, after a year when consumers couldn't or wouldn't go to stores. The digital operations that most retailers put in place in recent years, in large part due to competition from Amazon, were a saving grace last year. But all these factors, along with the fact that shoppers are now heading back to physical stores, make for a cloudy horizon. What's the trajectory for e-commerce now? And if growth remains the story, what about profits?
In this episode of The Backroom, we talk about what Senior Reporter Ben Unglesbee discovered as he reported his recent story about e-retailers' long-term survival and explore what may lie ahead for e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar retail.