By Blue Bronc, a Trail Mix Contributor
Although we think there is little going on outside of the small dome on the East end of the Mall, there is much else going on.
How would you save retail shopping? The malls? The standalone shops? The big box stores? Even grocery stores?
Right now the retail industry is reporting hundreds of thousands of employees being laid off because the stores they worked at are closing. Big names – gone by the thousands. Little names – gone. High end – gone. Low end – gone.
Online retail is a great thing. You order, you get it and you are happy. Shipping costs have dropped a lot, nothing for certain contracts. Comparison pricing is easy. Returns are so-so.
Want to try it on before buying? Retail yes. Online – good luck.
Has the gaming life changed how we shop? Game world, nothing is physical. You experience only what you think you do. No tactile world.
Retail shopping. Feeling the weave. Know the hand. Know the fit. Know the smell (yeah, some items of online purchase had an aroma that was rough). See. Touch. Smell. Total tactile world.
Where did the original online retailers fail?
Sears, J. C. Penny’s, Wards and several others were the original online retailers. You had their catalogs in your hands. You compared outfit to outfit in each catalog. You ordered, and depending on the warehouse, you could have it in a day or two; delivered for a price or even shipping cost to the store. They sold all brands, including their own. They had distribution systems and warehouses. They had trucks to move goods, and they could deliver and install anything. They had total penetration of markets. And they are failed. Why?
If I had more time left in my life and wanted a PhD I would explore this issue. I know the catalog sales side of the retail side did try early in the Internet era to make it work. Sears went off into a private world which has resulted in its destruction. J.C. Penny’s brought in a CEO who went nuts into some retail world which failed. Wards went down in the time before the Internet.
You have to wonder if Sears, or J.C. Penny’s or even Wards would have become the Amazon of today if their leadership had seen a different path than the one they took? I do think so. Up to the point when Wards brought out a discount chain it was as dominate as Sears. Up to the point when Sears brought in someone who destroyed it by mating with K-Mart it was the dominate of all sales. While those two were failing J.C. Penny’s was doing quite well. And, just as it might be the queen of sales, it brought in a fruitcake to destroy it. Right now it is recovering after dumping the nut. Will Penny’s survive? Maybe, but it needs to answer the question first posed – how will it survive being an online and retail store?
To add something to the punch bowl. Amazon is opening retail stores.
The reason for the question is because retail has been a backstay of American prosperity from the beginning of our country and is the largest employment segment of the economy.
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