DISCUSSIONS: 4 – (MAY 26) How many shopping days are left for bricks and mortar retailers?

Retail shopping is dying, fast. If you aren’t already an online shopper, you will be, sooner than you may think.

There are numerous reasons why online shopping will trump nearly all bricks and mortar retailers very soon.

The advantages of online shopping
Online shopping has a growing list of advantages over real life retail shopping.

Convenience and comfort
Shop from home, in any weather, wearing whatever you want, comfortably seated in your favourite chair. The car, if you still have one, never leaves the garage, never uses a drop of fuel, never has added wear and tear to it.

Endless and current selection
Shop at a glance, view an online catalogue of products just like the ‘old days’ when you browsed the Eaton’s catalogue in the home location of your choice/convenience. But the online catalogue is bigger, better, updated frequently and regularly.

Better shopping process and lower prices
Shopping online is improving at an exponential pace. Credit card security is improving constantly. Online retailers often assume any liability incurred by online shoppers, should something malicious occur. Credit card companies are ever stronger allies of online retailers as the interests of both are to safeguard shoppers purchasing experiences with ironclad security.

I want it now, almost
Shopping online is as near as instant gratification may be, ever. You click on the product in an online catalogue and then open your front door a day or so later to accept the delivery of your purchase. Incredible convenience.

The better way, maybe
Online retailers are constantly ‘kicking it up a notch’ in tempting the consumer. They do so by continually improving efficiencies in their systems. Their warehouses are models of efficiency and effectiveness in storing and moving product. These retailers use drones, robots, electronic processes and artificial intelligence to improve every aspect of product management and transfer. There is no loss of productivity due to employee absence or sickness. Warehouses are stripped down storage facilities without large marketing signs, mannequins and settings used in the old type of retail stores to tempt consumers into purchasing product. These warehouses need no heating, need less security, need less lighting if any at all. The cost savings result in benefits for the consumer: lower pricing, faster delivery and incorporating technology. These retailers are relentless in improving their retailing efficacy.

Consider these examples of retail sales enticements:

Pick up your smartphone and order a pizza by word. A chatbot interacts with you as if it were a real-life person, asking you “What kind of cheese would you like?” “Do you want thin crust?” “How well done would you like it?” and each of your responses triggers the AI chatbot to ‘think’ and reply appropriately with a response or another question as would a real live person.

Walmart, arguably the ultimate behemoth of retailers, is modifying its e-commerce system to make it even more efficient with the consumer benefitting with lower prices. The consumer who chooses to pick up their order at a bricks and mortar store, instead of opting for home delivery, gets a significantly lower price. Walmart reduces operating costs by elimination of the cost of the home delivery link to its sales transaction chain.

Other online retailers incorporate another procedure to cut costs. Pricing is reduced for customers who ‘bulk buy.’ The purchaser buying two, three, or multiple products pays less than the single item purchaser.

Less obtrusive methods are incorporated into the online purchase process such as the one used by Best Buy. Purchase online but come to the store where you are directed to the “returns counter” to get your purchase. A bit inconvenient but still a successful consumer interaction for Best Buy.

Are you comfortable with online shopping?

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