Is retail moving to the web permanently?
The advent of the Internet – especially high-speed Internet – across the world has allowed businesses and institutions of all kinds to take entirely new approaches to the way they conduct their everyday activities. The retail industry is just one area of the world that has been affected by this service, but it has certainly been affected in a big way. Retailers of all kinds are now able to provide customers with comprehensive online stores where they can browse with the click of a button instead of walking through physical locations. The upgrade in convenience is truly staggering. But this raises an interesting question: is this move to the web a permanent one, and will retail business go “the way of the airlines”, as Retail Wire asks? An article recently published on their site looks into it, saying:
“The retail landscape isn’t that much different with today’s customers myopically focused on price. Traditional retailers can’t expend the effort and dollars to provide service to customers that whip out their phones and buy from lower-price competitors (Hello Amazon and eBay) that have lower overhead.”
The data certainly suggests trouble for smaller and more physically oriented retailers, but that doesn’t spell doom and gloom across the board. It is important to remember that some customers will certainly feel more comfortable looking at products or testing them out in person. While some online retailers, such as the shoe store Zappo’s, offer this type of service through the web, many do not and will not in the foreseeable future. Would you feel comfortable buying a bed without first testing it out? This doesn’t sound appealing – and it’s a big reason why some areas of retail are safe from the domination of the web.
If you’re having trouble competing with Amazon and other web giants as a retailer, it can be difficult to discern what to do. It is hard to match their prices without ending up on the losing side. Instead, consider offering incentives for customers to shop at YOUR web location or your retail stores. Get in touch with your community and see if you can get them on your side. It may be difficult, but it’s not impossible!