As of April 2010, the retail industry employs about 14.4 million people annually. Before the economic slowdown, this number was much higher. Two-thirds of the United State’s gross domestic product comes from the retail sector. The total amount of sales for the US retail industry was $4.13 trillion dollars.
From huge department stores that offer a selection of almost everything to boutique specialty stores that have very specific product offerings, the retail industry is a vital gauge of the overall health of the economy.
The more stores that open, and the more robust sales are, the better the economy is fairing. The monthly unemployment figures are always released in tandem with retail figures in order for individuals to get an accurate idea of economic welfare.
Out of the world’s 10 largest retail companies, five are based in the US and five in Europe (incase you were wondering, those retailers were Wal-Mart, Kroger, Home Depot, Albertson’s, and Sears).
The retail industry is vast, with both store and non-store retailers occupying the space. Both those with physical locations (Banana Republic, Lowe’s) and those that engage in sales without occupying a physical location (Amazon, Ebay) are vital to the retail industry.
The financial meltdown is still affecting the retail industry hard. With high unemployment numbers, the housing market still struggling, and the high price of commodity goods, the retail industry has had to come up with innovative new ways to market their products and ensure overall customer satisfaction.
This week’s posts will explore existing and new trends in the retail industry, and how they are integrating with technology (specifically interactive voice response technology) to improve customer retention, attract new customers, and improve sales statistics across the board.