Forget store traffic and bag count: Gauging retail performance in an online world

MELISSA FARES | December 24, 2019

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Marshal Cohen has religiously visited the same stores every holiday season since 1999. But rather than snapping up bargains and favorite gifts for friends and family, the chief retail industry adviser is there to scrutinize the purchasing habits of others as online shopping upends the retail business. Major shifts in consumer behavior and preferences have forced Cohen, who works for market research firm NPD Group, and other retail analysts to approach their jobs very differently than two decades ago. “If you were to try and replicate research methodology, or even store observation, in today’s world, you’ve got a problem,” Cohen told Reuters. “It’s no longer good enough to just look at store traffic or parking lot counts.”

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