The TV news story is repeated so often we all know the script.  It goes something like this:

News talking head (NTH): “We now go to Bob Smith at the local mall to tell us how the retailers are doing this holiday season.”

Bob Smith (BS): “Yes, as you can see, the huge SALE signs are everywhere, from 25% to 75% off pretty much everything.  This is Carol Jones who is out shopping today.  Carol, what are you buying?”

Carol Jones (CJ): “Just some things that are marked way down like clothes and a few other things.”

BS: So these are things you’d be buying anyway, but you’re just taking advantage of the sale?

CJ: That’s right.  The prices aren’t that great on other things.

BS (to NTH): There you have it, retailers are trying to entice buying with big discounts but they’re not buying anything beyond that which doesn’t look good for this shopping season.  Back to you.

And thus the ‘in depth’ analysis of ALL retailing is summarized.  But wait, there’s more.  ONLINE sales are STILL skyrocketing.  Millions and millions of online purchases are being made by consumers from the comfort of their homes, offices, or cell phones and laptops anywhere.  And for the most part, the brick and mortar retailers can’t compete.

It’s not just about price.  Consumers like brick and mortar stores for the social experience (going with relatives or friends for example) and actually seeing the merchandise.  But that appeal is offset for many by the traffic, parking, crowds, and more.

It used to be that you’d go to the store to get TRUSTED ADVICE on a product.  Now, with the vast amount of product and service reviews online, and the pressure to train and pay store employees LESS to save money, advice from the store is about the least reliable or trustworthy.

So for many, if the deal isn’t as good, the information not as good, and the hassle is greater, they simply will avoid brick and mortar shopping if at all possible.

And this trend will continue.  Brick and mortar stores will continue to decline.  Who benefits?  UPS and FedEx!