Why the Growth of Online Shopping Will Not Lead to the Demise of Brick-and-Mortar Stores
The number of online shoppers has steadily grown over the last two decades. In addition to saving time, online shopping is immensely convenientâ€”all a customer must do is log-on to a retailerâ€™s website, select the items in which he or she is interested, make payment, and voila! The items will be delivered without the shopper ever leaving the house, or even the bed. Why then would someone go to a physical store to queue, fight the traffic coming back home, and waste valuable time when a better way to shop is readily available thanks to the internet and ecommerce apps? The death of in-store shopping is nigh, right? Wrong. While it is true that ecommerce and online shopping have impacted physical shopping, with some brick-and-mortar entities being pushed out of business, it should be noted that online shopping will not completely bring about the demise of the â€˜fewâ€™ remaining physical stores. Comment by Andrew J Ogilvie: Delivered without homeâ€¦or delivered to the shopperâ€™s home Comment by Andrew J Ogilvie: Kinda confusing Comment by Andrew J Ogilvie: Big sentence with a lot of ideasâ€¦maybe break up? Comment by Andrew J Ogilvie: These become plural and so it takes a plural verb (have)â€¦ http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/compound-subjects
In fact, the exact opposite is occurring. While massive retailers like Amazon have been influential in phasing out â€œmain streetâ€ type establishments, that trend was already taking place with the likes of Wal-Mart and its effect on physical retail locations. Perhaps more tellingly, Amazon has recently opened its first brick-and-mortar store. Amazon opening a physical store is probably one of the most significant signs that brick-and-mortar will not go away. Consumers want personalized service in some shopping situations, even if they combine their brick-and-mortar or in-person experiences with shopping online. The reasons why consumers will still use, or in some cases even prefer, shopping in brick-and-mortar settings is they want to touch, feel, or try on a product. Most retailers like Amazon are also learning that they need both a brick-and-mortar presence as well as an online one to truly remain competitive in the long run. Comment by Andrew J Ogilvie: Of what? If you look at the previous sentence it could almost read as â€œthe opposite of not completely taking overâ€ which would read as â€œTaking overâ€ Comment by Andrew J Ogilvie: Word choice?
As many experts point out, approximately 85% of all retail sales still occur in stores. The major retailers from TJ Maxx to Target are synchronizing but also segregating their online and in-person shopping experiences so that consumers have incentives to use both. For example, people might find that the pants they want are only available in brick-and-mortar stores, or that they will receive a 25% discount for buying the same product online. Depending on supply and demand, the incentives will regularly change as retailers make decisions based on issues like warehousing capacity, market trends and consumer behavior. Comment by Andrew J Ogilvie: Source? This one says its 88%… https://marketingland.com/report-e-commerce-accounted-11-7-total-retail-sales-2016-15-6-2015-207088
Granted, online shopping benefits included greater choices for consumers and better competition. Consumers can browse any number of retailers and instantly check prices online, whereas they cannot do that as easily in person. But with apps that perform instant online price comparisons, a consumer can easily do online and brick-and-mortar shopping simultaneously. Using technology to enhance the shopping experience means that more and more people will use whatever method is best for them, whether the goal is to save money or purchase the most unique item they can find in the market. Using that technology properly means doing so in physical locations, at times. Comment by Andrew J Ogilvie: Transition here—like how does this sentence relate to the previous one?
The reality is physical stores are not dying; they are just transforming. Indeed, the stores that will continue to succeed and remain competitive are those that will combine the best of online shopping with the best of brick-and-mortar experiences. On the other hand, those that do not adapt to the change will die offâ€”a classic example of evolution or survival of the fittest.
Saying digital commerce is killing off physical stores is thinking lazily and telling a half-truth. Companies that counter technological advances will remain viable, such as Nordstromâ€™s, which has thriving brick-and-mortar outlets as well as online presence. Brick-and-mortar stores are also necessary parts of the marketing mix for many companies, who maintain costly retail addresses specifically for the purpose of solidifying their brand. For some stores, their brick-and-mortar presence has become experiential in ways their online stores are not. The prime example would be the Apple store, which allows consumers to interact with products in-person and receive technical support with the latest iPhone in the palm of their hands. Or, they can solve that persistent issue theyâ€™ve been facing with their MacBook Pro.
In the recent Amazon acquisition of Whole Foods, the nature of global commerce in general shows why small businesses are the ones that may have the most difficulty competing in the online environment. The Amazon takeover of Whole Foods overshadowed other similar events such as Nordstromâ€™s purchasing Haute Look, an online vendor. Purchasing an existing online vendor presents several advantages to the brick-and-mortar establishment, such as allowing it access to a ready-made information technology infrastructure, databases, architecture, and even customers. The confluence of online and brick-and-mortar shopping also offers new hope for the small business owner and fledgling entrepreneur. The success of Etsy and other independent retail online shopping centers has simply shifted the locus of shopping for independent and one-of-a-kind items. As more and more Millennials come to eschew mass-market and fast-clothing options, they will also demand their favorite Etsy vendor to open a physical branch in their local areas, aiding the brick-and-mortar community. In effect, online shopping supports, rather than hinders, various parties: the consumer, the small business owner, and the major retail giant. Comment by Andrew J Ogilvie: interesting
The internet is definitely here to stay, and it is changing our lives. But Amazon with its potential for drones hovering above oneâ€™s doorstep is not about to replace life as we know it. It is unlikely that some shopping activities will just vanish. Do not be in a hurry to write an obituary for brick-and-mortar stores. Comment by Andrew J Ogilvie: Here too.. Comment by Andrew J Ogilvie: Is this sarcasm?
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