With the prevalence of online shopping what incentive is there to retain brick and mortar retail locations?

Myrtle Beach, SC, Orlando, FL December 25, 2015

Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-The prevalence of online shopping has put a dent in the incentive to retain a brick and mortar presence in regular shopping locales.  Actual retail locations that are not associated with major giants such as Walmart, Sears, Macy’s, Kohl’s, J. C. Penney, Nordstrom’s and others, face fewer sales, business decline, and possible closings, but there are remedies and incentives to retain brick and mortar stores in spite of increases in internet transactions.

The incentives to retain brick and mortar retail establishments are related to the value that certain shoppers, particularly older Americans and traditionalists, place on the physical and personal  opportunity to actually come in contact with merchandise in the sense of touching, feeling,  examining and walking out with purchases in hand.  The feeling of instant gratification is still of importance with buyers, even younger buyers, and the only way to do that is through a brick and mortar store.  In the past, department store shopping was linked to special family time together, particularly over the holidays.  It was a chance to spend quality time with family and friends as well as shop for special gifts.  The move from department store shopping to online shopping has diminished that sentiment. 

With the increase in online sales, brick and mortar retail stores have taken marketing strategies into their own hands to offset the lack of in-store traffic.  Almost every major department store already has online website ordering capability in addition to regular in-store sales.  Other retail establishments that have a brick and mortar presence have followed suit with online website ordering as well.  Even now small retail stores offer online shopping that would not have existed even a few years ago.  They all know that something has to be done to boost sales, so they have to go the way of a website and offer internet ordering capability.

Other brick and mortar strategies for sales have gone to what has been labeled the “in-store experience.”  With this process, retailers create added value or enrichment that makes a trip to their physical store worth the time and effort, as opposed to sitting behind a computer, clicking, adding to a cart and checking out.  

Added value can be in the form of highly informed, professional and friendly employees who will do whatever they can to guarantee customer satisfaction.  It can also include ongoing research concerning the wants and needs of consumers and what they purchase on a regular basis.  A pleasing and soothing store atmosphere that is comforting to a customer’s senses and provides attractive and creative store displays is another way that added value is created.  Substantial in-store coupons, customer rewards programs, flash sales; everyday values, merchandise delivery services; guarantees, warranties, early and late shopping, and other related perks are also incentives to draw consumers to in-store buying.  These incentives will motivate customers, and at the same time, create loyalty to a store.  Many retailers have also gone to integrating the e-commerce approach within a store itself so that customers can have the choice of online or in-store selections for purchases.  This is just another way to keep a customer base returning to a physical presence.  

In order to compete in the internet shopping world, and remain a viable shopping source, brick and mortar retailers will have to adopt and adapt to the added value and in-store experience to survive.  With these strategies in mind, brick and mortar stores will probably remain alive, especially if they continually reinvent their shopping experience to compete with and run parallel with internet shopping.       

Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent-Imagine sitting behind a computer desk, ordering your favorite pair of boots or jeans online. There’s no better feeling derived, knowing that after you hit the “Purchase” button, that item will greet you, right at your door, within the next few weeks or so.  It’s simple: shopping online is easy and effective for many individuals. However, now that there are so many options to make a purchase online, what of physical establishments, brick and mortar? Are there any incentives to retain such?


People have options.  If they’re not able to find what they want at a retail location, they’re already on their smart phones or tablets, trying to ascertain what they want.  It’s not that they’re not interested in buying from you, but online makes it quite easy, especially when there are no retailers in sight.  However, using retail locations to draw customers is a good idea.  Why?  il store, provided that it’s close in proximity.  If there are none, the next alternative is to shop online.  Having a retail location in close proximity is definitely Usually, an individual will browse online, maybe on Walmart’s website to ensure what they want is sold in stores. After finding that they can get what they want at a retail location, they’re more inclined to jump in their vehicles to the next Walmart.  People are more inclined to drive a few minutes to that retail location, in contrast to paying shipping and handling fees.


Gastonia, NC Correspondent-Enthusiasts for online shopping have been ringing the death knell for brick-and-mortar retailers for years now, and while the malls are fast becoming a thing of the past, with occupancy rates at once thriving suburban shopping palaces dropping every year, the experience of going to a store and picking out what you want is alive and well.


Thanks to Amazon Prime, I don’t have to run down to the drugstore if I’m almost out of toothpaste or dandruff shampoo.  As long as I know I’m almost out a couple of days ahead of time, I never have to worry about it.


However, when it comes to grocery shopping, I’m not alone in my opinion that I’ll never trust an online grocery shopping service to do my picking for me.  I want to handle the bell peppers, squeeze the tomatoes and look at the marbling in the steak myself.


But grocers aren’t the ones most often referred to as being endangered by online shopping.  Stores like Best Buy, OfficeMax and other big retailers are the ones most in danger, and having attempted to shop on Best Buy’s website recently and given up in frustration I can say they’re not doing much to make themselves worthy of saving.


Clothing is one area where I don’t see online ever supplanting brick-and-mortar completely.  Especially for oddly-shaped folks like me, clothes and shoes are best bought when they can be tried on in person.  If I had a nickel for every time I bought a belt that I thought was long enough to go around my midsection only to have it come up four inches short…


Jewelry is another fairly “secure” item.  I would question the sanity of anyone willing to buy anything beyond costume jewelry without first holding it in their hands and checking it out.


I guess in the end it’s a “sort of” answer.  Physical retail will continue to shrink, but it will never entirely disappear.  Anyone who ran out on Dec. 23 to find a gift for a forgotten relative will attest to how important brick-and-mortar stores can be.


Owatonna, MN-There is no doubt that online retailing is here to stay. Fast, convenient, inexpensive, and nearly ubiquitous in almost all developed countries, buying goods via computer is a large leap into the future. Why would anyone still choose to patronize a brick-and-mortar store?

One reason may be the easy access to Big Box stores as delivery hubs for online orders. Mega-retailers have invaded every corner of the country. Ordering online but picking up at the local retailer is an attractive option that often avoids shipping and handling charges.

Some customers still like to look before buying and prefer to browse a physical store and see a product in person. Having local branches available gives retailers a better chance of retaining these customers.

Many small towns are recognizing that the key to their survival as small towns is maintaining a vital business climate.  Chambers of Commerce across the country are becoming proactive in promoting a buy local philosophy and encouraging citizens to shun online purchasing when a viable option exists in the neighborhood.

A sizable number of customers will always value personal service over low prices or fast delivery.  These people will keep proactive service-oriented businesses afloat.  In addition, especially in America, shopping is a cultural custom that is deeply ingrained in many people. They may not be concerned about service or price but simply enjoy the process of browsing from store to store.

The businesses that succeed in the future will find a way to combine online retailing with brick-and-mortar sales in order to maximize profitability.  The fact that many small businesses have successfully incorporated online sales with their local physical store sales indicates both forms of consuming are viable and complementary.   

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