Is Retail Really Dead?

This was the cover of the INVESTORS BUSINESS DAILY (IBD) for
April 10, 2017.  The subhead read, “Most
stores face day of reckoning as Amazon-led onliners seize sales; to survive,
they must change – now.”
The in-depth article mentioned the facing crisis as
retailers such as Sears, Kmart, Payless, Bebe Stores, and others face closing
their doors and going completely online. 
We saw this with Coldwater Creek, a company which closed all brick and
mortar, but continued to sell online and out of catalog.  I do not think it necessarily means retail is
going away, but I agree with those interviewed in the article that things must
change.
While I do my own dent in the online sales world, I also
love stores.  I love the experience of
going in…trying on clothing and shoes; learning and testing new beauty
products; and discovering new gift ideas. 
I just believe some stores lost physical contact with the customer.  They ceased excellent personal customer
service, and allowed the shopping experience to become stressful and not fun.
I have observed one company which is opening, not closing,
new stores throughout the country is SOFT SURROUNDINGS.  They present a store which is beautifully
decorated from displays to bathrooms to dressing rooms; the service is personal
and not stressful; the stores hold clothing, accessories, and beauty products
in again a beautiful beauty area where most will hire an expert.  If they do not have the garment in your size,
they get it ordered quickly and easily right there.  All of the perks of shopping a high department
store are on site at Soft Surroundings…comfortable chairs for the husband to
sit in and cold water for refreshment in the dressing room…not to mention
beautiful clothes at reasonable prices and good customer service.  Obviously, this is working for now.
For those of you who are mostly shopping online now…what
would it take for you to be loyal to a store front again?  Do you believe all brick and mortars will go
away?  Who does it well; and who needs to
change?

Let’s help them out with our opinions!
Thanks!

33 Comments

  1. My most recent experience with a store front was with Best Buy. I searched on their website, determined that I needed more information, so I went to the store. I couldn't find anyone to help me and when I finally did, they knew less about the product than I did. So I went back home and did more research and purchased online. Store fronts need to have knowledgeable, helpful staff to make it worth the drive.

  2. I am almost 80 and still enjoy shopping. The lack of customer service however is appalling. A "Hello" from somewhere in the store as you enter does not take the place of good customer service. We will lose an important part of the shopping experience if we lose the brick and mortar stores.

  3. I've been looking for new tops/shirts for spring. Several times I've been to the mall and left discouraged and upset. In all of Macy's women's departments there were only two sales people and they were at the purchase kiosk. The woman who I tried to deal with was bored, unhappy and not interested in my purchase at all. So, YES, I would be very interested in shopping in a store like Soft Surroundings. It would be bliss!

    Yes! I would certainly frequent a lovely store, with attentive but not pushy, sales people.

    1. This is SO true about Macy's. A store I used to love to shop in has turned into a ghost town where you have to hunt down an employee to pay for purchases. The dressing rooms look like explosions of clothes not put away. I'll take online any day over this mess.

  4. I think when the larger chain stores moved the cash registers out of each department and converted to one main kiosk it started the beginning of their demise. It's like shopping in a warehouse. I love our local chain, Christopher and Banks. They have lovely clothing, reasonable prices and SUPERB customer service. Always attentive, never pushy. They make me feel like a valued customer, even if I only spend $5!!!

  5. If retailers would carry their 'tall' sizes in their brick and mortar shops, I would be there. Alas, those sizes are always online only. Why bother going to a store and trying on clothes that will never fit? I go to the store to return online purchases only. Shar

  6. I do enjoy trying things on in the comfort of my home, which is a perk of online shopping. I do not enjoy packaging things back up to ship off a return, or making a trip to a store just to make a return. I note increasing disparity in sizing even in the same or similar brands. Quality of the clothing is frequently not good. I want good quality, basic colors, and I do not wear athleisure or whatever the new trend is in clothing. I don't see that trend as a good thing. Seriously, one thing that has turned me off on brick and mortar stores is making the trip there, only to learn the sale ended yesterday or isn't on until tomorrow….all the special promos, the upselling, the trying to sell you a credit card at the checkout. By the time I am home I am exhausted, and usually didn't find what I wanted or needed.

    1. You state many reasons why I do love boutique shopping. There is a boutique near me which caters to women over 50 and carries high quality, reasonably priced items. I love the personal feel and the service I find there and no hassles. The owner will also act as my personal shopper…you might seek one out in your area…and I hope you find it!

  7. Excellent customer service, face to face contact and stepping away from the screens that invade our lives are extremely important for the Human Condition. I hope it will not be the case of "that we don't know what we've got until its gone"…..

  8. I have stopped shopping online after one too many bad experiences of buying something that was supposed to be x colour and arrived y colour, or that was called "leather" but upon arrival it was clearly PU, or claimed to be silk but is clearly polyester. Or the wrong shade of a colour — poor or misleading photography. I am SICK SICK SICK of it, and will never shop online for clothes again, except for specific, known brands that are not being shipped from China.

    Wendy

  9. I don't shop online for clothing very often and only on a website where I know the quality of the clothing because I've been to the brick and mortar store. To me online shopping is like days gone by where we shopped from catalogs because we didn't have the stores close to us. I live in Canada and the shipping from online stores which are mostly US based is ridiculous. It can add as much as $40 to your order. I sure hope we don't come to the place of losing brick and mortar stores. I do agree with the issue of customer service, it's definitely not what it used to be.

  10. I only shop in stores when I am on vacation. I just don't have time otherwise. I have certain websites that I love. Shopping online is just so much easier as I can do it at odd times of the day when the stores are closed. So, for me….there is not turning back on the fact that online shopping is so convenient.

  11. I much prefer shopping in stores, but so few stores carry Petite size ranges anymore. Or if they do, it's a very limited selection compared to what they offer online. So most of the time I'm forced to shop online despite my preference.

  12. I love to boutique shop. I either shop online or boutiques. I am not a big shopper of the mass stores. There are several chains I still love and I will shop in them if I have time. They key is having time. Great post!!

    1. I love boutiques as well. Many assume they are expensive, but I have many very moderately priced and the customer service is better. Sometimes I shop just as a stress relief…but I enjoy it. So happy to have you here Cindy.

  13. I shop for jeans/slacks & shoes at brick & mortar stores. It is very hard to get the proper fit without trying on these items, unless it is a trusted brand. I have had some issues with quality when shopping online. You can't tell the weight or "feel" of the fabric from a picture. I agree with Beth B about Christopher and Banks. Their customer service is top notch.

  14. The majority of American women wear a size 14 or larger. The average woman is also just 5'4" tall … so why do retail stores devote most of their floor space to tall, slender women? (And why does Macy's hide their women's (plus) sizes in a corner of the second floor?) I am short and apple shaped and so discouraged at the small selection for women like me. I have recently discovered QVC and love the fact that they don't distinguish between regular and plus sizes, but offer the full range of sizes with lots of cute clothes.

    1. Completely agree about store floor space and plus size departments. They are always positioned as if they are an embarrassment to a brand. That is ridiculous. Some women wear both misses and plus sizes and need them close to one another. Thanks Eileen.

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