As online shopping grows in prominence, retail stores are trying to find ways to preserve both their brick and their mortar. They face and increasingly difficult, if not impossible task of replicating the convenience of purchasing pretty much anything without a customer having to leave their house.
Retail outlets are trying to offer the next best thing to buying necessities in your pajamas. Purchases on their websites can be picked up at conveniently located retail shops. Whether the customer wants one item or several, store employees can do the shopping for them and have bags full of merchandise waiting for them.
The retail business is suffering. To see the growingly ill effects, you do not have to look any further than your neighborhood mall.
Credit Suisse predicts that up to 25 percent of all malls will close over the next five years. Once a hub of consumerism, square footage and business bankruptcies are on the increase while the number of stores and staff continues to drop.
Meanwhile, Amazon and other digital stores continue to gain market share while physical locations seemingly shed customers. During the first three months of 2017, same store sales suffered the worst quarter of comparable sales growth since the Great Recession of 2008. The second quarter is providing little, if any optimism as forecasts show continued stagnation.
Ironically, all of this is occurring at a time when Jeff Bezos of Amazon is planning to open actual retail locations, largely automated and with minimal staff. The online behemoth is getting into the brick and mortar business to sell books and groceries.