There is no denial that we've seen a shift in the way consumers choose to buy goods. Over the past decade, we've seen a huge rise in the popularity of online shopping.
Will traditional retailers will be able to compete with the convenience and potential money saving when buying similar goods online, or will do you think physical retail stores will become obsolete in the future?
Do you prefer to shop in a physical store, or online?
Good question! I don't think they'll become obsolete, but I do think a lot of stores may have to change the way they do business a bit. I do a lot of shopping online at the moment because I hate dragging two pre-schoolers to the shops with me. However, given an opportunity to shop by myself there are certain things I'd prefer to go to a physical store for. If I'm buying fancy tea I like to smell and sometimes taste the different blends. With clothes it's ultimately less trouble if you can try them on in-store. And proper face to face good customer service is still a fine thing. And I do love a good browse in a book shop where you can touch and smell the books (and secondhand ones do have a special smell).
I've heard about stores that do a combination of online and storefront business, where people can try on samples of clothes in store then order them online with a minimum of staff needed in the shop. We might see more of that. Other places might concentrate more on the customer service angle, up the quality and the prices for people who are prepared to pay extra to be treated well. I suppose we'll see.
I think they will become obsolete, sadly. I feel sorry for those who love working in such shops, some really enjoy it. The fact is buying online has become fast, easy and affordable. The only ones physical stores can compete is to lower prices and offer free parking. But with the rushing cost of renting the store, paying for staff etc how could they? I love buying online you can do it 24/7 in your pj's even in bed if you wish, these days they arrive pretty quickly, they are cheaper and whilst browsing you don't have a sales assistant watching you. Plus no driving or driving round and round looking for a parking spot necessary. Bliss
While I think retail stores selling entertainment are ultimately doomed, I still think other shops are going to stick around. The shops that are most likely to survive are clothing shops because people want to try things on, see if they fit, or how they look on. I also think supermarkets and food stores will stay around - although maybe in diminished capacity - because people like to browse and have physical contact with them. The same goes for homeware and gifts. People actually want to see the item.
But DVDs, CDs, games, etc, don't stand a chance in the digital age.
I honestly think we will start seeing the demise of certain retail stores in years to come. Whilst some people prefer the 'in-house' shopping experience, online shopping can offer us quite a lot - side-by-side price comparisons, as well as product reviews at the tip of our fingers.
Perhaps some stores such as clothing and furniture will continue to exist as people like the touch and feel of fabrics before buying, but I can't see how shops selling books, magazines, DVDs, games and similar will exist in the future.