This article illustrates the impact of e-commerce on retail outlets.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Retail, e-commerce, business management, technology, marketing

Key Questions to Explore:

  • How is technology redefining retail shopping?

New Terminology:

Endless aisle, the last mile

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

Students will examine the disruption of the retail industry as stores and malls are forced to adapt amid the relentless surge of e-commerce.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  1. Organize students into small teams, each equipped with flip-chart paper and colour markers.
  2. Using the topic Online Shopping, have students create a mind map for this topic using the following steps:
    1. Brainstorm key ideas related to the topic
    2. Group the ideas into common categories
    3. Place the key words, ideas or visuals representing the ideas around the topic line of Online Shopping
    4. Continue to brainstorm additional ideas that spin off from each major idea until you have sub-branches sprouting from the main branches on the map. Continue until you have exhausted all the ideas
    5. Explore the relationship between the various ideas on the mind map
  3. Using the ideas on the map, ask the following questions;
    1. Where is the highest potential for profit?
    2. How can consumers be engaged with this?
    3. Which companies are most vulnerable?
    4. How do vulnerable companies overcome their obstacles to success?
    5. Who are the main competitors in the sector today?
    6. How will that evolve with the new ideas brainstormed?
    7. What are the benefits for consumers?
    8. Who is challenged by the surge towards online shopping/
  4. Distribute the article for reading.
  5. Combine groups and have them discuss how the mind maps created reflected the reality exposed in the article.
  6. What can be different going forward for the retail sector? For the consumer?

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Put the students into small groups to discuss the following: The job market in the retail sector is changing dramatically as the whole sector shifts to using more digital distribution channels. Discuss and describe these changes and suggest how someone might prepare for a job in this rapidly-evolving sector.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • Students understand the shifting retail market and are able to think about how these changes will impact them as consumers and as potential employees.

Confirming Activity:

  • The retail business is becoming exceedingly complex. Have students describe this complexity and project what the retail sector might look like five and 10 years down the road.