The Dispatch

Online shopping destroys retail stores

Photo by: Dalton Spruce

Photo by: Dalton Spruce

Ian Miller, Commentary Editor

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It’s no secret that online shopping has swept traditional retail shopping off its feet in recent years. With the new golden age of technology, online shopping can be done virtually anywhere; you’re able to buy a new pair of shoes on the bus ride home or order a book you need to read for English within the hour it’s assigned. My point is, with the ever-increasing popularity smart devices are gaining, pretty soon retail stores are going to become irrelevant and more of a hassle to go to than anything else.

Should we be happy that the online market has blown up in the past few years, or should we be worried for our malls that are steadily going bankrupt?

Truthfully, the rapid growth of the online market is probably in the best interest for everyone. It’s oftentimes faster, cheaper, and more convenient than retail shopping; anyone with an internet connection can reach an online store.

Which is easier: visiting an online shopping website, typing in the name of the product you’re looking for and clicking “buy now”, or getting in your car, finding the correct store, searching for your product, and buying it at a higher price than it was online? What I’m trying to say is that shopping online is much less work than shopping in a retail store; it’s fast, convenient, cheap, and it doesn’t waste gas. It makes sense that retail stores are experiencing a decline; in fact, just between 2011-2012, online shopping increased in sales by 27% whereas traditional shopping only increased by 0.1%. Now imagine how much this statistic has changed from 2012-2018 and it’s easy to understand why retail stores are going bankrupt.

The biggest convenience of online shopping is the fact that it’s accessed through the internet. With the rising popularity of smartphones and portable computers, online shopping can be done practically anywhere with an internet connection and at any time you want. That is the true convenience of online shopping; as long as you have an internet connection, there’s nothing stopping you from buying what you need online. It’s estimated that by 2020, payments made from a mobile device will account for $503 billion in sales, and it’s all due to the benefits and convenience that comes from shopping online.

Shopping online can also save you money. By ordering a product directly from the manufacturer online, you’re avoiding the “middle man” and getting the direct price the manufacturer is offering. For example, retail stores will up the price of an item to actually make a profit, so by shopping online, you’re avoiding the extra cost a retail store will tack on. Additionally, most online shopping websites have a price-comparison system, where you can check the price of an item to retail stores and other online stores, ensuring that you’re getting the lowest price possible, which only adds to the list of reasons why shopping online is better than shopping at retail stores.

Large retail centers like malls are in big danger from the sudden popularity of online shopping. Without a substantial amount of customers, it’s estimated that 25% of all malls across the nation will go bankrupt over the next 4 years. Nowadays, many people go to the mall for the entertainment it brings rather than the actual “practical shopping” you would expect from a retail store due to the convenience of online shopping. As such, malls are beginning to implement a new type of strategy to get people to keep coming back: retailtainment. By dropping many practical stores in a mall with entertainment centers, retailtainment leaves customers with a unique experience to remember, driving the main purpose of a mall away from retail and towards entertainment. If retail stores are able to adjust like this, online shopping could continue to grow without destroying the integrity of malls.

Although at first the prospect of many retail stores going bankrupt seems bad at first glance, it’s really not going to be the end of the world. When you look closely at the facts concerning this topic, it’s easy to see how this will actually benefit us more than it will hurt us.

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Online shopping destroys retail stores