Is it only a matter of time before all large stores in town centres are closed due to Internet shopping?

Probably not in the near future. For example, for any of the following product categories shoppers would prefer an in-store experience.

  • Luxury product where first-hand experience informs the final decision (iPad 4 vs. iPad mini; MAC cosmetics, home design), or
  • Inexpensive category serving urgent requirements (fresh grocery/salt/shampoo)
  • Localized niche stores (coffee shops)

Think of IKEA, Apple, Nordstrom, Tiffany’s, DSW, Safeway and Toys”R”Us.

Additionally, while online shopping is an effective research tool, in-store shopping provides the level of confidence that no amount of online experience can, especially so in the context of female shoppers. In 2007, the Wharton study ‘Men Buy, Women Shop’ had observed: ‘Women are happy to meander through sprawling clothing and accessory collections or detour through the shoe department. They like to glide up glass escalators past a grand piano, or spray a perfume sample on themselves on their way to, maybe, making a purchase.’

Hence I see online stores co-existing alongside physical stores, while each type evolves in its size, shape & format to complement one another. Read: Best Buy’s Innovate or Die Retail Strategy.

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