Online Shopping Is Killing Some Retail Stores


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Shopping malls have long stood as the kings of convenient purchases – everything you need under a single roof, and often offering the types of sales which you can only find through enormous franchise chains. Recently, however, with the ever-rising popularity of the online store, these are suffering from increasingly poor sales, and this only looks to worsen in the future. Which are the most affected by this, why are people increasingly turning to online shopping, and where can we see the natural end-point of these developments?

The Struggling

The stores that are struggling the most today tend to be those from which customers only purchase one or two items and those which are not heavily impacted by purchase speed. If the customer wants something now, then the internet is not going to work, as the best that people can usually expect is next-day delivery. That said, a reduction in overall cost for a widening range of goods and services is ever expanding this net into other business areas which many traditionally think of as largely unrelated to the internet as a whole.

Online Shopping with Touchscreen Ultrabo” (CC BY 2.0) by IntelFreePress

Today you can quickly search for businesses that can print large scale documents from the comfort of home, or you can order a DNA test kit to investigate your family history from the comfort of your computer. This added convenience is an enormous benefit to the average customer, so it’s only natural that this is where they turn.

Gaining Momentum

As the deals which can be offered through online stores often far exceed anything which can be offered by a physical store with many costs to cover, online stores have been gaining popularity and notoriety in the world of sales. This is aided by the increasingly improving and relevant technologies and growth which support these systems of sales. Today, couriers and courier companies are seeing considerable growth due to the corresponding growth in online sales, and this benefits even further through modern developments in technology.

While self-driving and delivering car couriers are still a fair way from real-life integration, there are others, like drone delivery, which have already been making strong strides in establishing themselves as a mechanism of the future. With rechargeable batteries, lower overall delivery time, and the benefits of automation over human fallibility, drone delivery is poised to become an enormous component of this business over the coming years and is one which will only help in growing this industry beyond what we see today.

There are limits, naturally, especially when it comes to issues of weather and crime. Drones, as far as they have come, still don’t perform well in high winds. Add the extra weight of delivered goods into this equation and we expect that the actual adoption rate of these technologies will depend highly on geographical location. Add into this the potential for drone hacking, or deliberate destruction in order to steal goods, and we might see a sort of two-steps-forward and one-step-back type of scenario.

Abandoned Strip Mall” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by dt10111

The ultimate outcome here is that many businesses will be faced with some hard decisions. While it will be possible for some of the larger franchises to simply diversify or expand into online sales, many smaller businesses will not be able to compete in this environment. This is a problem which is going to get worse before it gets better, so those of us who are big fans of local stores might want to consider taking a hit to the wallet if it means a healthier regional economy.

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