Many observers and participants in the retail realm wring their hands and burn up brain cells wondering if online will make in-store obsolete. I’ve expressed my judgment many times and can sum it up in one word: poppycock.
In reality, those with eyes to see understand that the difference between online and in-store is dissolving as the two become one. Amazon builds retail lockers for customer pickup. Toys’R’Us has long offered order-online-pickup-in-store services. Best Buy develops ship-from-store capabilities. People use online resources to make the in-store shopping experience better!
An emerging term for the convergence of in-store and online is webrooming: researching online before purchasing in a store. This builds off of the concept of showrooming whereby people go to a physical store, examine their product options but then buy online. Bricks-and-mortar retailers like Best Buy have felt harmed by the practice because they provide the showroom without the benefit of selling the product.
Shoppers are inventive. They will find the best way to get the best deal. In-store can deliver the best value (i.e., price, convenience, instant gratification, tactile interaction, expert advice, etc) shoppers seek. Retailers – and the store fixture companies who love them – are up to the challenge of evolving to meet shoppers’ needs.
Posted on 6/27/2013 at 8:00:00 PM