Sunday, August 22, 2010

Online stores versus on Brick & Mortar

It's really difficult to find a non-mainstream CD at local stores. Music has been reduced to big box electronic and bookstores. The former "music" stores are now focusing on DVDs and blu-rays. You can still find your favourite artist online order a CD or download their album. More likely you'll download just the single but that's another rant.

Shopping for sunglasses online i went to a large discount sunglass store I was struck by one clause on one page.
"we encourage you to go to a local store and try on the glasses first before you order"
WTF. Please, go see the inventory, ask the staff questions, get service from them since we can't offer that service, but we've got cut-throat prices so we'll take your money off their backs. I've never purchased clothing or accessories online so i've never really thought about it but this is pretty commonplace with many online outlets. Looking at a leader at online shopping Zappos, they offer free shipping even on returns which would seem to be a necessary requirement. I wonder if you'd be dropped as a customer if you were to "try before you buy" ordering and returning multiple models.

Like most I'm not sure what the internet is going to do to many industries - retail included. If the internet retail continues to evolve and it seems logical with low logistical costs enabling razor thin margins many brick and mortar stores will go the way of the record store. One thing is certain there is a clear ethical issue with profitting off the physical presence and labour of a competitor.

The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had - Eric Schmidt