Can Brick and Mortar Co-Exist with Online alternatives?

You hear analysis and tech savvy people say it all the time. Stores/Restaurants/Movie Theaters/etc. are dying, Our internet overlords are the future. And while nobody can deny the success of companies like Amazon or Netflix, I feel like people are still stuck in their "new and shiny" phase whenever new conveniences are introduced. Sure, loading up a Movie to Stream on Netflix, or ordering something on Amazon will always have ease of use at their disposal. But all these things lack one key ingredient, a social element. When you walk into a store, you walk into a building that has a bunch of others there for the same reason, to buy something, or look at thing they can buy. You might meet up with a friend, ask an employee, or just enjoy being in company with other people. Humans are biologically social people, so there will always be a desire to spend time with family and friends on a night out, and brick and mortar places like stores and Movie theaters will always have that in their favor. In the case of stores, another benefit is that you can look at the product in person first, before deciding to buy it, and once you do, you have it immediately, and don't have to wait a day or two to arrive at your door.

We can see in the success of places like Wal-Mart and Best Buy that people still do like physical brick and mortar stores in addition to their online shopping. I don't think anybody seriously believes that all stores/restaruants/movie theaters will just go extinct, because then they'd be asking for a future where we're all just fat isolated shut-ins with no desire or need to leave their house like a distopian Wall-E Future. I don't think anybody wants that at all. Of course, whenever a store or chain is declining, people will always blame the internet alternative, and while that does play a small part, its an oversimplification of often times much larger problems. Blockbuster didn't die because of the Internet, they died because they failed to provide a service that both addressed the rise of streaming, and helped differentiate them from the online alternative.

Do you think Brick and Mortar can co-exist equally with online shopping, or am I being too optimistic?

Nope. I am a pessimist about this topic.

Online anything will destroy any and all brick and mortar/physical shopping. Soon all literature/comics, gaming, music, and movie/tv will only be available and accessible via online streaming.

Many jobs will vanish, Ownership of property will die and only the privileged few will be able to access it.

Heck I can go as far as to say when it comes to gaming, all video games will be nothing but mobile games of gambling slot machines with cutscenes of specific games that you play online.

Yes. Play to your strengths and don't be greedy. That is all.

No, I don't think it can co-exist. Brick & mortar have way higher overhead costs; they have to compensate for high rent, personnel, maintenance etc. They are less cost-effective than online and also by and large make far lesser profit thanks to limited reach. So you have higher costs, less profit but the consumer still expects the same low price as online, or preferable even lower.

This severely reduces the amount of brick & mortar shops to pretty much solely eateries and tourist attractions, groceries and large chain stores. I guess for them it maintains profitable but it does make every shopping center of every big city look like a copy of one another.

Here's the thing. We're all atypical whether we want to admit it or not.

I'm 6'2, I have a 46 inch chest, and my waist hovers around 36-34, depending on the make.

I wear a size 13, and I have long arms.

Unless it's a short sleeve shirt, I NEED to try it on to see if the clothing will fit me. And I prefer to buy work shirts at a place like Men's Warehouse because I know I'll need it tailored.

Certain places will survive because we are all in odd shapes. But that will really focus on body things. But a few of us are tactile. We need to feel it in our hands before we make a decision.

The best thing that Brick and Mortars stores can do is like what they do with Express Men. They often have in-store deals that you can't get online.

Other than that, it gets hard to dispute Stroopwafel's assessment. If all things fit me flawlessly, I'd never leave my damn home. There are people outside. That is scary.

But I'm forced to, as I feel a good deal of people are because we aren't one size fits all.

Yet again, that only deals with body stuff. You can't even bring your new dishwasher home unless you have a truck. It makes more sense to order it online. That's literally what I did for my washer and dryer. Waited until Black friday and got both for 600 dollars less than it would be normally. And I know if I went to a location on black friday, they might have had.... maybe five in stock at the time? First come, first serve. Limited stock is a problem that Brick and Mortars can't really solve.

Brick and mortar and online can and will coexist just fine; online will only eventually get a more substantial piece of the various markets.

Overhead of B&M aside, a substantial piece of the consumer base is employed within them and/or in support of them; thinking in extremes, close all B&Ms, and now you've got fewer people who can afford the convenience of offers online. The market is huge, but a zero sum game nonetheless.

As more businesses get into the online market, the competition only gets more fierce, nigh unto unreasonable. Amazon sets a high bar; not everyone can afford same day delivery like they do as the cost can easily mitigate the profit on a large scales.

Another thing to consider is that there's a crossroads of convenience and practicality; I (personally) shop when I need something; if I need it today and a 10 minute trip to a store can fix it, what sense does it make to buy online and pay a shipping cost? And a premium if I want it more quickly? More shipping costs eventually bleed over into cost of goods, so any deals you find buying online could start to diminish beneath shipping costs. Not to mention that without all of your B&M real estate, you've got to warehouse your goods on offer somewhere, and employ people to stock it, inventory it, pick it, someone(s) to manage those people, security, etc.. Warehouses tend to be high risk environments, those people will need benefits befitting their risks, vacation time, lunch breaks, toilet facilities, lighting, etc., etc.

Lastly, while I may not necessarily like shopping (i.e.: malls and crowds,) I do prefer to have a thing in my hands/see it in person before I buy it. CDs and books are fine online purchases, but clothes, certain appliances, food, stuff for which quality isn't apparent on a flat screen, I need to see them before I fork over cash; the convenience of buying the unknown online doesn't immediately outweigh the risk of buying junk or something that doesn't fit which I'll subsequently (ironically) have to leave the house to return.

There are myriad reasons I believe B&M and online will eventually reach an equilibrium. I'm in retail, and believe me, the buzz right now is right-sizing, having enough stores in the right places to support what online can't.

Go to your local mall and find out. Here in St. Louis, the Chesterfield mall has 150 store fronts. 15 of them have operating stores and the food court has 1 shop left. Brick and mortar is dying

Just a reminder that even the online model is fucked because Activision reported record profits, didn't meet its expectations, and started laying off people.

The digital space has been something corporations have rushed to because they can't cut out the middleman and make more profits. But we're already running into problems with their model.

Samtemdo8:
Soon all literature/comics, gaming, music, and movie/tv will only be available and accessible via online streaming.

This. I mean, they won't do it intentionally, because they want as many people to purchase as possible, but they're going to collapse their base and access through short-sighted policies. And then they will fail to reach expectations and fire more people, while amassing money to the executives.

But this isn't a digital thing; we've been seeing it for years with Wal-Mart and Amazon.

I work at a third party shipping center that ships packages via FedEx, UPS, and the Post Office.

This is despite alternatives such as Actual UPS, Actual FedEx, the Actual Post Office, and online shipping services/Amazon.

Gotta play to your strengths and adapt.

Well, as long as console exist, why not? Moreover, brick and mortars can always expand further into pop culture material consumption and board gaming.

Amazon has been opening up its own brick & mortar stores.

ObsidianJones:

Unless it's a short sleeve shirt, I NEED to try it on to see if the clothing will fit me. And I prefer to buy work shirts at a place like Men's Warehouse because I know I'll need it tailored.

Certain places will survive because we are all in odd shapes. But that will really focus on body things. But a few of us are tactile. We need to feel it in our hands before we make a decision.

I've been wanting to buy this pair of shoes for so long. They finally got down to a low low price aaaaand when I tried them on in the store they didn't fit my sadly flatfooted feet. So yeah, I agree with you on this.

But at the same time, technology is advancing at a crazy rate. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if I experienced some kind of body scan app that lets you digitally try on clothing before I die.

Bob_McMillan:

ObsidianJones:

Unless it's a short sleeve shirt, I NEED to try it on to see if the clothing will fit me. And I prefer to buy work shirts at a place like Men's Warehouse because I know I'll need it tailored.

Certain places will survive because we are all in odd shapes. But that will really focus on body things. But a few of us are tactile. We need to feel it in our hands before we make a decision.

I've been wanting to buy this pair of shoes for so long. They finally got down to a low low price aaaaand when I tried them on in the store they didn't fit my sadly flatfooted feet. So yeah, I agree with you on this.

But at the same time, technology is advancing at a crazy rate. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if I experienced some kind of body scan app that lets you digitally try on clothing before I die.

Doesn't online usually have super lenient return policies though? Espescially with shoes retail never has my size. With online I can just buy a few of the same shoe within a certain rage and return the ones that don't fit. You just have waaaaaayyy more choice online than you would ever have in a store.

Bob_McMillan:
To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if I experienced some kind of body scan app that lets you digitally try on clothing before I die.

Let's all upload nude full-body scans to the internet! What could go wrong?

Pyrian:

Bob_McMillan:
To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if I experienced some kind of body scan app that lets you digitally try on clothing before I die.

Let's all upload nude full-body scans to the internet! What could go wrong?

The future is now...

https://www.mtailor.com/

Yeah, I suppose like any environment, the strong will survive! Many B&M businesses won't be around in the next 5 or so years, simply because consumers will find cheaper, better quality, and easier versions online (think of music shops and DVD stores dying out). Other business models will be fine if a better version doesn't exist just yet. I was shopping around IKEA the other day, and my god it was busy! So if you want a good example of a B&M business that will definitely be okay, look to them. I think people still like to feel and touch clothing, drink coffee, and try out furniture in real buildings, so I guess it depends on the industry. What I also find interesting is that some businesses are a fascinating hybrid of B&M and the WWW. Like, think about online storage for an example: https://www.boxie24.com/en-us/on-demand-storage It's a perfect mix of online and real-world demands. People need to search online for a physical storage unit that must be visited in person. Pretty good idea of merging the two worlds! I know there are other examples, but that one is a bit different than the rest.

throwmetothewolves:
I was shopping around IKEA the other day, and my god it was busy! So if you want a good example of a B&M business that will definitely be okay, look to them. I think people still like to feel and touch clothing, drink coffee, and try out furniture in real buildings, so I guess it depends on the industry.

That is certainly true but do people really go to ikea for fun? Ikea is nine layers of hell that I would only ever visit out of sheer necessity. Large chain stores are similar for me, but fortunately here online is the better option as it's much easier to send clothing back than a table.

I remember in the 90s you had videogame import stores, cool merchandise stores, comic book stores etc. All mom&pop. Now there is really no point anymore if the stores all suck and you can get everything online.

 

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