Online Shopping versus Brick and Mortar Retail

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To state the obvious, I have mastered the art of online shopping.  I am on a first name basis with the Fed Ex guy as he visits me on a regular basis.  What’s not to love?  You visit Amazon.com click and the next thing you know it is at your front door.  Now if I could just have Fresh Direct in my part of the country so I never had to visit the grocery again, life would be perfect – right?

Not so quick.  This week the WSJ had a lovely article about lunch/tea rooms in the iconic New York department stores.  I love a great lunch room.  Nordstroms has great food so you never have to leave the store.  Bergdorf Goodman has my favorite lunch spot on the 7th floor.  What could be better than looking out over Central Park from the 7th floor of BG’s?  Still, brick and mortar is struggling with relevance.  This was brought home yesterday.  I finally had a weekend where I was made to do errands.  I decided to bite the bullet and struck out to eradicate my “to do” list.  These were things where I wanted to touch and see what my options were.  While online is lovely sometimes you need to be there to try it on or see it in person, to consider your options.  It was so frustrating to be told  “we don’t have it in the store but you can order it online”.  The fifth time I was told that in the third store, I wanted to scream!  If I wanted to order it online I would not be out in the freezing cold and rain!

I don’t know what the answer is and I’m sympathetic to the business case regarding the cost of inventory.  Of course it is easier to have a larger selection online to complement what is offered in the store.  But, and you knew there was a but coming, if you have it on display, should you not have it in stock?  Just a thought . . .

 

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