Online Retailers Now Opening Stores

wholesale merchandise mallsHas the retailing world gone insane? Over the last several years online sellers have made significant dents in brick and mortar stores in every market and in every city. Many retailers had to jump into online selling whether they wanted to or not to keep a presence to the consumers. This addition has been costly and for many retailers has not been all that popular, as many online shoppers are scouring for the cheapest price.
Fast forward to today when new retailing reports are showing that many online stores that had been exclusively on line are venturing into brick and mortar situations. Has everyone lost their minds? Is this backwards day?

 

An article that was published in USA today talked about an online fashion retailer in San Francisco that has sold online only for a decade and then decided that it would be a great idea to open a physical store so he could interact with the customers. Lo and behold he discovered that he makes larger sales and were able to interact better with the customers. OMG – something us physical retailers have known about forever!

 

So now the hipster millennial trend is the NEW thing…opening physical locations! They even have a name for it – it is called omni-channel marketing. We used to just call it RETAILING!

 

The newfound genius’ have discovered that there are great benefits by having a physical location and those selling fashion feel they can no longer ignore the client who wants to touch and feel the merchandise. Wow. something we have all been doing for eons until many were put out of business because of these same genius’ saying the internet is the ONLY way to sell. So, they rise through the carnage THEY made of the brick and mortar stores only to bring it back again. But this time they think they have invented a NEW way to sell!

 

My favorite addition to this story is that after years of the decimation of book stores and the burying of Walden Books, Borders and the dwindling down of Barnes and Noble, an announcement was just made that Amazon will be opening physical book stores next year!  I give up!! Is it just me?  Share your thoughts…

 

 

 

Showrooming – A New Twist!

window-shopping1Well, just when I thought I’d seen it all with regards to “showrooming” — you know what that is – when shoppers come into your store to view the goods and then search online for it to get it cheaper and make the purchase elsewhere.

 

Many of the larger retailers have started changing the SKU numbers so that shoppers cannot easily search online for the items, but we all know that a good description will turn up the item online. So, what to do? Some retailers trail behind the shoppers interacting with them and in my opinion that makes for an unpleasant shopping experience for many of them. Aside from getting into the shoppers face when they jot down the item there really hasn’t been a good solution.

 

Today I read the ultimate solution – and it really is a crazy idea that only seems to have been tried overseas. Pay to browse!

 

At the Vera Wang bridal boutique in Shanghai, customers must pay 3000 yuan (approx. $480 US) for a 90 minute time slot to browse and try on dresses. There is also a food store in Australia that charges customers $5 for coming in to browse.

 

Could you imagine your store implementing this policy? Seems that these fees are quite drastic and not really the answer to keeping brick and mortar stores around. Educating the consumers is key here — they need to understand that if they like their local neighborhood or chain stores to go shopping in – they need to do just that — SHOP!

 

Retailers Forum welcomes your two cents! Please share with our readers your ideas and opinions.