“Ugh. These pants are too tight and make me look fat. Great, now I have to go all the way to the post office to ship them back and wait another week to get the right size.” Everybody remembers the conversation they’ve had with themselves after ordering that piece of clothing or pair of shoes that didn’t fit well and the headache which came with it. The advent of technology has made shopping as convenient as one can ever imagine, from instant purchasing, to viewing entire catalogues within the palm of your hand, to saving time making the trip to the store; but lurking in the midst has been the unforeseen aggravations which online shopping has spawned. As consumers, we want the best of both worlds – perfect fit, convenience, no lines, fast delivery. We want technology to adapt to our needs, supplement, not restrict them. This is a difficult feat, indeed, which lends way to the fact that brick and mortar stores, having been around for millennia, aren’t going anywhere and will survive for the next thousand years.
I’m afraid to admit it but I’m someone who’s been a slow adopter of technology as far as consumer goods shopping is concerned. My preference is to drop by a nearby Bloomingdale’s or Century 21, invest a few hours, and leave with the assurance my clothing is going to be with me for the long run and there was no waiting for it to arrive. I can’t ignore the convenience and ease online shopping provides, however. Sure, it may take a while to receive my merchandise when I’m not Priming it, but odds are I saved money using a coupon code, a few hours of my time, browsed inventory which wasn’t available in-store, or was entered into a free promotional giveaway I wouldn’t have been otherwise eligible for. There are certainly many advantages to this type of transaction, the positives outweighing the negatives. That said, the case for brick and mortar stores is a strong one.
The greatest advantage physical locations provide is good ole instant gratification. Even with express delivery, nothing beats the excitement of walking into a store and purchasing a nice accessory (Mets cap for me) and showing it off for the world to see. And I don’t even like baseball. It’s like the feeling you got when you were a kid diving into an ice cream cone on a hot, sunny day. Or that brand new, stiff pair of skates you were surprised with on your birthday which propelled you to victory on the ice rink. I know, I know, I’m reliving my childhood memories here. Hopefully you get the idea.
Secondly, the peace of mind of knowing what you’re leaving the store with fits and looks great can not be understated. All brands’ sizes run differently. I can’t recount the number of times I had to ship back merchandise, incur a cost, and then wait for the new order to arrive if I even decided to reorder from the same vendor. When all is said and done you probably end up spending more than you would at a retail store by buying and then shipping your items back.
Lastly, there’s the civic duty, yes, civic duty, we all have to support local businesses. Now, big brands need to stay afloat as well, but what greater pleasure to have than knowing you’re supporting your fellow, friendly neighbor in pursuing their dreams AND putting food on their family’s table? That’s a net gain. In today’s day and age, though, if you’re not taking advantage of multi-channel selling (I’m banning the word omnichannel) you’re at a big disadvantage. You’re simply limiting your reach and sales opportunity if you haven’t setup an online shop, gotten a grasp on your product/inventory mastery, and started running promotions on social media channels. It’s incredibly easy these days and almost all POS portals sync your online transactions with your retail location’s. The time is now. Get crackin’.