This issue has been sitting with me for a while.
I really wonder about the future of brick and mortar stores. If they don’t get their act together, I think their days could be numbered.
This is especially true here in the United States, where online shopping is just ridiculously easy. Services like Amazon Prime that, for a once a year fee, offer free two day shipping, make it so incredibly convenient. Things ordered on Amazon appear on my stoop 2 days after I order them. I don’t even have to rely on the postal service – FedEx and UPS are so much more reliable.
But I digress –
Since I returned to the US two and a bit years ago, I have used online shopping mostly for the convenience. Even when working part-time, time is limited, and it is so much simpler to just go online and click some buttons.
While I have been shopping online, the bricks and mortar retail stores appear to have been dropping the ball. These days, when I go into one because I think it will be quicker, and I want something RIGHT AWAY, I am ALWAYS disappointed. I cannot think of a single time I went into a store and thought: phew! I’m glad I went today and didn’t wait for it to arrive from Amazon.
1. I wanted a new duvet cover from Restoration Hardware – I had wanted it for a year or so, and had been waiting until I felt I could afford it. I was going with my visiting mother to the mall anyway, so figured I’d get it on the day, rather than ordering it online and having to wait. First of all, the woman in the store that offered to help me didn’t know what the Eucalyptus color looked like. She tried to sell me Sage. And then, it turned out they didn’t even have to color I wanted in stock.
Result: went home and ordered online. It is now beautifully lying on my bed.
2. As many of you know, I recently bought a new camera. I’m planning a whole separate post on where I bought my actual camera and lens from, but let me tell you about my filter buying experience yesterday. I wanted a polarizing filter and a UV filter for my lens. It’s a Nikon, and the filters are very typical filters for a high end camera. I wasn’t looking for anything exotic. I actually had time to shoot some pictures that afternoon, and thought it would be quicker (if perhaps more expensive) to head to Wolf Camera. Well, they didn’t have ANY good UV filters that would fit my lens in my local Wolf Camera. I had to drive half an hour out of my way to get the UV and polarized filters. They were GREAT once I got them, but what a hassle! Seriously Wolf Camera, no UV filters for a fairly common Nikon lens????
Result: bought them – eventually
3. Hubbie needed a new lawn mower – the one from 9 years ago finally gave out on him. He wanted a motor mower, but not a powered one – he figures he can push it along himself. He went to Home Depot, Lowe’s and some other place – driving all over the place in awful Saturday afternoon traffic and NONE of the places had a non-self-propelled motor mower. NONE. He came back very very frustrated and pissed off with traffic, people, and useless retail stores.
Result: Ordered on Amazon, using Amazon Prime (free 2 day shipping), and it arrived on our doorstep 2 days later.
I have several more examples, but I figure those will do.
Serious retail fail all around. I don’t even WANT to go into retail stores anymore. Give me the meta shopping experience ANY day, where they have what I want, when I want, and usually for a lower price.