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Bye Bye Brick & Mortar?

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by redux, Apr 9, 2018.

?

How much do you shop online for your regular purchases (clothes, electronics, jewelry, gifts, etc?)

  1. I dont shop on line at all.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Less than 10% of my regular purchases are online

    3 vote(s)
    27.3%
  3. More than 10% but less than 50% of my purchases are online.

    3 vote(s)
    27.3%
  4. More than half of my purchases are online.

    5 vote(s)
    45.5%
  1. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Foggy Bottom
    One issue coming to a head over the last few years has been the boom n e-commerce and the resulting crashing of "brick and mortar"stores.

    More than 5,000 retail stores closed in 2017, including multiple closings of many major chains
    These major retailers have closed more than 5,000 stores in 2017

    Thousands more retailers closed in the first three months of 2018 and many more expected
    2018 retail closings: The latest news


    The impact on state and local governments has been huge with a loss of $billions in revenue as a result of online sellers not collecting state/local sales taxes.

    It may be coming to a head with a Supreme Court decision later this year that will determine if online sellers MUST collect state/local sales taxes.

    Supreme Court will decide if online retailers must collect sales tax

    As High Court Weighs Online Sales Taxes, States Get Ready to Pounce

    And beyond the revenue question for state/local governments is the impact of e-commerce on small independent Main Street stores and shopping malls. The future is uncertain.

    It has become a priority issue of focus for my organization ....both the revenue aspect and the impact on the economic vitality and quality of life on cities large and small with the potential loss of so many retail establishments.

    My question is your shopping habits.

    I probably buy online for more than 50% of my regular purchases, primarily for price and convenience but I do sometimes feel guilty for not supporting a small local independent store and even miss the experience of "live shopping" on occasion.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
  2. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member Donor

    Location:
    Baltimore/DC
    It’s going to go back to old school
    Brick & mortar will exist and excel

    But it won’t be with larger chain stores
    But more with mom & pop speciality stores
    Catering to hands-on and quiet quality

    Like vinyl and CD are doing well again vs streaming
    People want to have things in hand, ponder, peruse and try out
    Much less ask subject matter experts in person

    What once was pushed under with the advantage of volume
    Will grow again with care and attention
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Stan

    Stan Resident Dumbass Donor

    Location:
    Colorado
    I do both, I'll support local business when I can; but I'll compare prices online.
     
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    • Winner Winner x 1
  4. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member Donor

    Location:
    Baltimore/DC
    Agreed, best of both worlds
    Besides...a little competition can’t hurt us, can it??
     
  5. cynthetiq

    cynthetiq Administrator Staff Member Donor

    Location:
    New York City
    Most of my purchases are online. Why? Because I can control myself a little easier than when I'm in a store and seem to fill my cart with a bunch of crap. I can see the total before I check out and realize that I don't need 90% of the stuff that's sitting in it.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member Donor

    Location:
    Baltimore/DC
    That’s funny...because I’m the exact opposite.
    I guess we all have our particulars.

    I’m so wary of online shopping.
    And I’ve been doing computers for decades.
     
  7. genuinemommy

    genuinemommy Moderator Staff Member

    I could switch to 100% of my purchases being made online without batting an eye.

    Except...

    I like buying produce myself in person. I want to make sure it is how I like it.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  8. Chris Noyb

    Chris Noyb Get in, buckle up, hang on, & don't criticize.

    Location:
    Large City, TX
    IMO there is too much variation in food, not just produce. It would take extraordinary circumstances for me to food shop online. That does not include some specialty items that are difficult to find locally, or simply aren't worth a long drive. Example--The small British foods shop in Spring near the Woodlands is a great shop, but not worth the drive unless I/we are going to be in the area for other reasons.



    We try to support the local small music/guitar stores (I'm not talking about Guitar Center). I realize that they have to make a certain profit to keep their doors open/make it worth while, and I don't expect them to match internet prices. With that said, their prices need to be reasonable and somewhat competitive. An example involving a father & son B&M store near us--$40.00 for a mic cable that costs $35.00 on-line or at a large chain store would be acceptable; $50.00 is not. The trade off is they provide some tech services at less than their normal rates, or occasionally (rarely, TBH) free if checking something only takes a few minutes.

    We're not big consumers, esp. new items (some of you might recall that I'm a dedicated thrifter). Buying used items locally saves us a lot of money, and it puts at least some tax revenue in the Texas government till.

    Part of me understands why the states want to collect sales tax on internet sales. Another part of me doesn't support this at all. Small purchases don't seem like much, but the accumulative amount could be staggering. I have mixed feelings about people who buy big ticket items online basically just to avoid paying sales tax. I, like most people, don't like paying taxes....but I also realize the loss of tax revenue hurts services such as highway maintenance, public education, etc.

    --------------------------

    I have a friend who lives near Houston, but works for the State of California as a tax investigator. Basically if an out-of-state company makes a tax free business purchase in CA (usually wholesale for retail resale), and something gets the attention of the CA tax authorities, he visits the company to obtain proof that the No Tax purchase is legit. He says the amount of tax revenue from his cases alone is huge.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  9. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Foggy Bottom
    I agree with all of the about food shopping and the niche markets for specialized small businesses but I am still not optimistic for the future of vibrant "Main Street" shopping.

    Here is another example of A mazon expanding its already significant presence in the clothing/shoes market where consumers like to try on for size and style.

    New Report Pegs 32% Year-Over-Year Growth in Amazon’s Apparel Business

    The Amazon effect is hitting the apparel industry

    (before this latest incentive described below)


    As an A mazon Prime member , I received this email yesterday:

    Dear _______

    As a valued Prime member, we’re offering you an exclusive invitation to check out Prime Wardrobe—your most fashionable Prime benefit yet!

    This new program—which is included with your Prime membership—brings the fitting room to you, so you can try the latest styles and find your perfect fit before you buy. With Prime Wardrobe, you can order clothing, shoes, and accessories at no upfront charge, take seven days to decide what you love, and only pay for what you keep. Not only do you get to choose which pieces you want to try from great brands, but, for a limited time, you will receive $20 off when you spend $200+ on purchases from your Prime Wardrobe box.

    Should you need to make a return, it’s more hassle-free than ever: Simply use the resealable package and provided prepaid label and drop off your box at a UPS location.

    1. Fill your Prime Wardrobe box - Pick out three or more pieces of clothing, shoes, and accessories for women, men, or kids.

    2. Try on at home - Use your seven-day try-on period to decide which items you want to keep.

    3. Return as needed - Simply apply the prepaid label and drop off your box at a UPS location.

    It is become easier and easier to shop on line!
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
  10. SirLance

    SirLance Death Therapist

    It's not ecommerce that's killing brick and mortar retail.

    In fact, ecommerce accounts for about 9% of total retail sales (I'm a CIO of a consumer products wholesaler that sells to retailers & online). Certainly this area is growing, and is expected to account for about 14% by 2021.

    United States: e-commerce share of retail sales 2021 | Statistic

    It's debt that's killing brick and mortar. Many of these retailers took on crushing debt, mostly through LBO's (as in the case of Toys R Us and Claire's) by private equity firms, expecting quick and profitable public offerings or vastly increased sales that never materialized.

    The debt is coming due and the credit markets are tightening, so restructuring is sometimes not possible.

    America’s ‘Retail Apocalypse’ Is Really Just Beginning
     
    • Like Like x 2
  11. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Foggy Bottom
    Good points! Thanks for the added perspective on the primary cause. I certainly agree on the debt issue.

    I would still suggest for small businesses on the margin, a 8-10% loss of sales to online competitors could be a killer as well. Then there is the additional loss locally for some small Main Street businesses to big box stores that are popping up in increasing numbers (although some of those are facing losses and closures this year).

    Trump and Republicans promised that the tax bill would benefit small businesses but the additional rate reductions for pass throughs intended for small businesses appear to be benefiting wealthy taxpayers structured to take advantage of loopholes (but I am no expert on this bill by any means). The status of some SBA programs is uncertain as well with the current administration.

    Finally, there is the issue of the loss of sales taxes estimated to be between $8-12 billion less revenue for state/local governments. Again, that could change this year depending on a Supreme Court decision.
     
  12. cynthetiq

    cynthetiq Administrator Staff Member Donor

    Location:
    New York City
    In NYC hyper real estate market many brands pushed gentrification forward with paying crazy rents. Landlords started pushing those demands on lease renewals for many places which were neighborhood stalwarts of business. Now we have a different kind of blighted see-throughs.

    De Blasio hints at ‘vacancy fee’ for landlords of empty storefronts


     
  13. cynthetiq

    cynthetiq Administrator Staff Member Donor

    Location:
    New York City
    Since I don't live in the suburbs, one of the phenomena that I experience when I go out over the weekend is that the stores seem to be all packed! Mall parking lots are full. Stores have plenty of people shopping in them. I don't know what the weekend sales are but Same Store Sales Year Over Year tells a tale of at least similar if not better sales.

    United States Retail Sales YoY | 1993-2018 | Data | Chart | Calendar

    Here are where Amazon has locations which translate into jobs and ancillary supporting businesses.

    Amazon Fulfillment Center Locations | Avalara TrustFile
     
  14. james t kirk

    james t kirk New Member

    Location:
    Toronto Canada
    I only shop on line IF I cannot find it in a bricks and mortar store.

    The reason is simple. Bricks and mortar stores support the cities and towns they are located in. Amazon and the like do not.

    An old fashioned store employs people, as well as all the associated support industries associated with the operation of the store. Everything from the trades people who build the stores, to the guys who maintain the stores, to the finishes and fixtures that go into the store, to the local utilities, local taxes, etc. etc. The list is endless. This all has a huge positive effect on the local economy and those that live in the cities and towns. It's a form of city building.

    Amazon and the like just a run a giant warehouse somewhere. Just a box out in the middle of nowhere. It's highly automated and minimum wage, with terrible working conditions for the employees.

    If people don't support their local merchants, the local merchants will vanish and we are going to end up with pretty desolate looking cities. I live in the city (Toronto) and I love the energy and the feel of the city. Boarded up stores and buildings falling into disrepair is not what I want to see happen. Everyone loves a town with a thriving downtown that draws people out. It's not going to last it people keep spending online (only).

    I remember when people used to boycott Walmart because they thought that Walmart was the evil empire that they did not want to support with their purchasing dollars. At least Walmart contributes to the municipalities that they are located in. There is a benefit to the people in the area. Unless you are home to one of the smattering of Amazon warehouse around the continent, the same cannot be said of Amazon. People think it's cool and hip to buy on line, but really, it's anything but. It's remarkably short sighted. Cool is supporting the people in your town (including Walmart) who employ people in the area and give back to the community.
     
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. Chris Noyb

    Chris Noyb Get in, buckle up, hang on, & don't criticize.

    Location:
    Large City, TX
    It's good see you posting.

    I agree. My wife & I try to support local small businesses. But I think a counterpoint should be considered.

    Many families have very busy schedules. One or both parents have jobs that extend past M-F, 8-5, 40 hours a weeks. Also consider there are many single parents. Between working at work, doing additional work from home, and the kid's activities, leisurely shopping is a luxury. Visiting several stores to buy items that don't require handling the items in person--small kitchen appliances for example--is time consuming. It can be done on-line much quicker. And for some families the on-line savings are significant.
     
  16. cynthetiq

    cynthetiq Administrator Staff Member Donor

    Location:
    New York City
    I live in NYC where mom and pops were the norm. Today we have a Target opening up just a few blocks away along with a Trader Joe's. The rest of shopping is all the same places, Gap, Victoria Secret, H&M, Uniqlo, and the rest of the bottom retail. Of course, we have multiple Michael Kors, Miu Miu, Rag & Bone, Prada, and other high end but still ubiquitous shops. Even the corner bodega is threatened by 7-11 encroaching all over the place. Finally, 3 brands which seem to have gotten a big foothold over the past 20 years, Domino's, Papa John's, and Subway. People don't want to take risks it seems for a maybe meh experience.

    One time I was driving back from Rochester with the wife and a friend. We needed to stop to eat and we pulled up to a diner. He said, "How do you know if it is any good?" I replied to him that I had no idea. He wanted to check Yelp or some other places to get an idea. I said, it has cars parked in front of it, we are right here, and it's open if we don't like it when we walk in, we walk out. If we do we sit down and eat. If we didn't like the meal, we chalk it up to never eating here again if we ever drive through here again. It was really simple. No need to overthink it.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. cynthetiq

    cynthetiq Administrator Staff Member Donor

    Location:
    New York City
    If I don't buy stuff online the wait to go to the store gets longer and longer in a schedule of little to no time.