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Old 01-09-2016, 12:02 PM   #41
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So, if the stores and the malls don't feel like a real Christmas, why bother to shop there?

I agree 100%. To hell with all of it. And not very long ago I enjoyed much of the commercial activity around Christmas. I consider this a real loss.

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Old 01-10-2016, 01:40 AM   #42
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Outside of food and household items I buy pretty much everything else online. Its much more convenient than physical stores.

Movies, music, video games and books are all a no brainer as you can buy the digital copy and have it available in seconds.

I prefer buying clothes/shoes online as well as its easier to get the size I need. With Amazon if I am trying out a new brand I'll order one pair from multiple brands and try them on. The ones that fit I keep and the ones that don't I send back. I have amazon prime so the shipping is free.

Will stores die out? Yes many of them will. At some point even grocery stores will be displaced. Once self driving cars come out things will really change.

People are also going to have less need for owning cars and housing. It will be more economical to use a service like uber than to own a car and once its all automated with self driving vehicles there won't be any inconvenience to it. For housing, most people will be telecommuting to work. So I expect people will take advantage of that and travel/move around a lot more. My guess is that cities will need to fight for residents by offering low taxes or other incentives. Why work in a crowded expensive city when you could telecommute from a beach town in Mexico, Thailand, etc? If the dollar is still the reserve currency there will be a big incentive to expat outside the US where you can get more value for your money.

In time I could see countries needing to compete for citizens. Especially with the birth rate declines. Government might actually be forced to care about their citizens.
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Old 01-10-2016, 04:14 AM   #43
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I was thinking about this thread when cycling alongside Lake Merritt this morning to the local Trader Joe's here in Oakland. There are many pleasant shopping areas here that are not mall-based - just streets lined with store-fronts and plenty of pedestrian activity (Lakeshore Ave, College Ave in Rockridge, and Piedmont Ave, just to name three, for those familiar with the area). Many of the businesses are small mom and pop types. In stark contrast to large malls, I really enjoy cycling and walking around these areas and visiting the various stores. In this type of setting, commerce feels like a natural and welcome part of life. We have a popular Farmers Market on Saturdays, and the place bristles with activity. It is so much more of a human experience than the soul-killing (IMO) experience of visiting an indoor mall jammed with corporate chain stores.

My purchases are a mixture of online and B&M ones. B&M is certainly going through a realignment but, at least where I live, it shows no signs of going out of style. I won't miss the downtown Sears store that recently closed though. It had been feeling like a dinosaur for years.
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Old 01-10-2016, 05:28 AM   #44
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I think that the B&M shopping experience will change from mega-store experience (Wal-mart, large department stores etc) to smaller, more specific inventory experience where a customer might want to talk to a KNOWLEDGABLE salesperson. It will be more expensive than finding it on-line. But the need for some help, and the desirability and importance of having the right thing, TODAY will sell the deal.
There is a small hardware store that I know when I walk in if I am not sure what I need, how it will fit, etc. they will help me. I pay a bit more.
However, if I want new underwear, no way I'm driving 2o minutes to Wal-mart to spend another 20 minutes sorting through the store, the scrambled up shelves etc and then standing in a check-out line (25 registers in the store, 2 of them actually open)...nope.
Wall-Mart put Mom&POP out of business, and if the internet puts them out of business, too bad.

I went to Dick's a couple of years ago, and stood in line to check out. 15 registers, one open. 10 people in line. Two "manager" types folding sweaters. I suggested they open another register. One of them said, "we can't, not for 45 more minutes"...and this was between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I said , "really? Well since you would rather organize the shelves, and I can buy all of this on line, you can put this stuff back, and I'll go home and buy all of this cheaper on line. Be sure to relate this experience to your boss some time" and I haven't been back to Dick's since.
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Old 01-10-2016, 05:34 AM   #45
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I think that the B&M shopping experience will change from mega-store experience (Wal-mart, large department stores etc) to smaller, more specific inventory experience where a customer might want to talk to a KNOWLEDGABLE salesperson. It will be more expensive than finding it on-line. But the need for some help, and the desirability and importance of having the right thing, TODAY will sell the deal.
A couple of posters have said that, and perhaps it is part of what I said earlier in the thread. However, the key to that working out is finding a way to ensure that consumers will not capitalize on the service offered by the B&M retailer, and then turn around and make the purchase from the lowest-cost (i.e., online) retailer.

How will that work?
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Old 01-10-2016, 07:39 AM   #46
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Maybe the next generation is different, but there are some things I like to see before I buy, especially fruits and vegetables. DH and I enjoy grocery shopping and have been doing it together for almost 20 years now.

I also prefer to try on clothes and shoes although I did go on a buying streak with a brand of dress shoes on-line, buying the marked-down ones on the store's web site. That was after I bought the first pair at a local store so I knew what size fit. The store is now going out of business.

DH and I try to avoid things made in China when there are alternatives-fat easier to do in person.
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Old 01-10-2016, 07:48 AM   #47
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Many retail companies will die completely, whether they have brick and mortar or not.

I buy more and more stuff directly from China or Hong Kong. I am not sure how that can sell and ship stuff so cheap. Some of it is truly junk, some is the same stuff you would buy locally for 10x the cost.

Now that online buying is mainstream, buying directly from the manufacturer will be the next wave. Skipping the cost of the retailer, the trucker, the shelf stocker, the janitor, etc. of a local store, or an online retailer.

Amazon doesn't make anything they sell, they just make the connection between the buyer and seller. The connection Amazon makes is more likely to be another retailer, not a manufacturer.

Buying directly from the manufacturer will allow a huge savings to consumers, and eliminate much of the middle-man markups. Eliminate the markups, and you also reduce any sales taxes as the price paid is lower.
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Old 01-10-2016, 07:59 AM   #48
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A couple of posters have said that, and perhaps it is part of what I said earlier in the thread. However, the key to that working out is finding a way to ensure that consumers will not capitalize on the service offered by the B&M retailer, and then turn around and make the purchase from the lowest-cost (i.e., online) retailer.

How will that work?
I'm referring to stuff I have to have today, like a toilet bowl flapper. Anything discretionary, the trend will be buy on-line.

Also, things like large appliances. I don't see myself buying a washer-dryer on-line. The trend of the large stores making on-line purchases deliverable to the store will help them compete to some level.

But a lot of things are just so much more efficiently handled on-line, the market will shrink considerably. But I don't think it will disappear completely.
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Old 01-10-2016, 08:03 AM   #49
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I was thinking about this thread when cycling alongside Lake Merritt this morning to the local Trader Joe's here in Oakland. There are many pleasant shopping areas here that are not mall-based - just streets lined with store-fronts and plenty of pedestrian activity (Lakeshore Ave, College Ave in Rockridge, and Piedmont Ave, just to name three, for those familiar with the area). Many of the businesses are small mom and pop types. In stark contrast to large malls, I really enjoy cycling and walking around these areas and visiting the various stores. In this type of setting, commerce feels like a natural and welcome part of life. We have a popular Farmers Market on Saturdays, and the place bristles with activity. It is so much more of a human experience than the soul-killing (IMO) experience of visiting an indoor mall jammed with corporate chain stores.

My purchases are a mixture of online and B&M ones. B&M is certainly going through a realignment but, at least where I live, it shows no signs of going out of style. I won't miss the downtown Sears store that recently closed though. It had been feeling like a dinosaur for years.
I feel this way also. One problem locally is that as land values and commercially zoned sites get more and more expensive we lose a lot of the small service businesses that cannot pay high rents. So instead of a shoe repairman, dry cleaner or small clothing store or gallery we get another apartment or condo building. Recently my shoe repairman who is the latest in ~100 years of his family repairing shoes in this same neighborhood has been outcompeted for space by a marijuana dispensary.

Ha
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Old 01-10-2016, 08:44 AM   #50
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I went to Dick's a couple of years ago, and stood in line to check out. 15 registers, one open. 10 people in line. Two "manager" types folding sweaters. I suggested they open another register. One of them said, "we can't, not for 45 more minutes"...and this was between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I said , "really? Well since you would rather organize the shelves, and I can buy all of this on line, you can put this stuff back, and I'll go home and buy all of this cheaper on line. Be sure to relate this experience to your boss some time" and I haven't been back to Dick's since.
Service matters even more these days. Any store with a culture like you describe won't make it.

On the other hand, those that try hard might. Our local Kroger's (grocery store) does try. There is almost never a wait at the check out - they open a new one if there is more than one person waiting. They offer tastes of the cheeses and produce (I like to taste the apples, such a difference between good apples and old apples!). They even keep a special cold case up by the checkout filled with eggs and milk so people don't have to walk to the back to get them if they are just picking up a couple of item. There prices are generally higher than the local Aldi (and Walmart and Meijer and Giant Eagle - all within a few miles), but the place is well run and it keeps me coming back.
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Old 01-10-2016, 09:19 AM   #51
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The brick and mortar stores are running themselves out of business by stocking fewer and fewer items. For Lowe's or Home Depot, for example, once you decide what you need and fork over your money, you wait- till the item arrives in the store. So, it's no faster than ordering on-line. I find that's true also with many refill items. They want to sell you the gadget (preferably stuff you buy on impulse) but they don't carry refills.


We do patronize the local hardware store in town: family owned, a bit jumbled, but they inevitably have whatever widget you need and can help you find it.
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Old 01-10-2016, 09:43 AM   #52
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It doesn't matter what any one of us says. Sure we want the Mom & Pop store to be there when we want/need it, but we want to buy online too. Can't expect both ways without killing off some/many brick-n-mortars.

What people collectively say they want and what they actually do collectively just don't match. If most people were willing to pay more for in person service, brick-n-mortar stores wouldn't be largely in decline. Most people value lower prices/more convenience over paying any premium for more and more items/services - regardless of what they say.

And you can probably get way more product information online than any store clerk could offer - it's a vicious circle with clerks becoming less and less knowledgeable. We get what we (collectively) deserve...
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Old 01-10-2016, 10:08 AM   #53
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And you can probably get way more product information online than any store clerk could offer - it's a vicious circle with clerks becoming less and less knowledgeable.
I hesitate to buy anything (I haven't already purchased before) without consulting some reviews. I'll often check the Amazon reviews of a product at Costco and if it checks out, then buy it a Costco - unless it's significantly cheaper at Amazon - very rare.

On the other hand, it seems like I undertake fairly extensive research before buying anything new these days. Even items like LED light bulbs...
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Old 01-10-2016, 11:11 AM   #54
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Old 01-11-2016, 04:49 AM   #55
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I'm referring to stuff I have to have today, like a toilet bowl flapper.
I can order many things from Amazon.com to be delivered today. As time goes on, such purchasing might undercut the ability for local hardware stores to survive.

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Also, things like large appliances. I don't see myself buying a washer-dryer on-line.
But my spouse and I did. It'll be a matter of whether critical mass can be retained by the local retailer in light of changing purchasing behaviors, such as that of my spouse and I. The current trend is running toward online and against B&M.

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The trend of the large stores making on-line purchases deliverable to the store will help them compete to some level.
Right now critical mass is being maintained for B&M retailing principally on the discomfort of many people with interacting online. Future generations won't have even an inkling of such discomfiture. As soon as enough people feel perfectly comfortable capitalizing on the ability to see and touch something in a store, and then turning to their smart phone to make the purchase from a retailer that can pass along some of the savings stemming from not having a B&M presence, things will be different (and for many retailers, that time is already here).

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But I don't think it will disappear completely.
I think, in the end, what we're going to see is another business model for B&M. The path forward is either going to have to involve "religion" - i.e., changing the minds and hearts of a critical mass of people to regard the impact of online purchasing as "sins" because of considerations that have nothing to do with the purchase itself, but instead involve matters such as local jobs and the local economy - or going to have to involve some kind of selling of a purchasing experience.

I cannot even imagine what the latter could look like, but it would have to, in some way, deprive people of the ability to capitalize on the advantages of B&M retailer without some means of assuring that the purchase will be made through the B&M retailer. Maybe there's some way to structure purchasing clubs, so that people who want to be able to see and touch things before they buy can pay a significant annual fee which effectively is like a FSA (a health savings account for which any unused amount at the end of the year is forfeit). Perhaps what will come about is a fair-like arrangement, where manufacturers will rely more heavily on "Home Shows" and the like to give folks an opportunity to see and touch things, with purchases all made online.

Extending that idea a bit... perhaps we see an "everything old is new again" scenario, wherein B&M retail stores become spaces within which the better manufacturers will rent space from retailers - stores within stores, with the manufacturer building the cost of retailing into the purchase, since increased consumer power ripped the ability for the retailer to do so. Perhaps manufacturers will differentiate their product lines, selling at a premium those for which they rent showroom space from retailers, while still selling lower grade models, which aren't available from B&M retailers, exclusively online.

We consumers are simply getting too good at using new technology to our advantage. It's going to change a lot of things, not just retailing.
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Old 01-11-2016, 12:11 PM   #56
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Also, things like large appliances. I don't see myself buying a washer-dryer on-line.
Like Buu, I bought my most recent washer and dryer online. I researched it on Consumer Reports online, and everywhere else I could think of. I got the measurements and measured and visualized the space usage. Then I ordered it from Sears online, and had it delivered directly to my new-to-me ("dream") house. That took a couple of weeks, and I think that was the only disadvantage of buying them online, for me.

Actually, this is the best washer and dryer I have ever had, maybe because I was inspired to do more thorough research and figure out which ones would best meet my needs. I have only had them since July, so I reserve the option of changing my mind. But at least so far, neither has broken and they have done a superb job of washing and drying my clothes.

I also bought my refrigerator online at Sears, but I already knew the model I wanted because I had it at my old house. It had to stay with the house to entice buyers with a limited budget, so I got an identical frig for the new house.

I don't see how I could get a toilet flapper valve or anything else today from Amazon if needed, though. Usually Amazon ships things in from Memphis, Kentucky, or Texas.
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Old 01-11-2016, 12:47 PM   #57
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Actually, this is the best washer and dryer I have ever had, maybe because I was inspired to do more thorough research and figure out which ones would best meet my needs. I have only had them since July, so I reserve the option of changing my mind. But at least so far, neither has broken and they have done a superb job of washing and drying my clothes.
It's early days. Long may they last!

The best washer and dryer I ever had came with the house I bought in 1991. I negotiated them as part of the purchase price. When I sold the house 20 years later, they were still going strong.
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Old 01-11-2016, 03:52 PM   #58
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I agree 100%. To hell with all of it. And not very long ago I enjoyed much of the commercial activity around Christmas. I consider this a real loss.

Ha
Yes, I remember when kids could line up for a department store Santa and the parents could take a photo - all for free. Stores handed out samples of holiday punches and cookies (no alchohol, of course). Some stores even had Nativity scenes (GASP! Choke! Wretch!) if you can imagine that insult to modern diversity thinking. And there was a general feeling of Christmas that came along with the shopping experience.

Now, it's just, spend, spend, spend, how can we squeeze a few more bucks out of you.

Gosh, I sound like an old codger who screams 'Get Off of My Lawn', but I'm not.
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Old 01-14-2016, 10:27 AM   #59
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Frankly, Christmas during my lifetime has always been highly commercial; I remember my Mother complaining about this; I simply didn't mind.

I do miss the department stores' hoopla - Christmas decorations, especially the "Christmas sections," where they put the beautifully decorated trees, and where the day after Christmas, you could buy the lovely ornaments at half price. During the past few years, all the stores have ceded the "Christmas section" to seasonal "Christmas stores." Probably good business practice, as it frees up more space to display potential gifts.

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Yes, I remember when kids could line up for a department store Santa and the parents could take a photo - all for free. Stores handed out samples of holiday punches and cookies (no alchohol, of course). Some stores even had Nativity scenes (GASP! Choke! Wretch!) if you can imagine that insult to modern diversity thinking. And there was a general feeling of Christmas that came along with the shopping experience.

Now, it's just, spend, spend, spend, how can we squeeze a few more bucks out of you.

Gosh, I sound like an old codger who screams 'Get Off of My Lawn', but I'm not.
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Old 01-14-2016, 11:08 AM   #60
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I don't see how I could get a toilet flapper valve or anything else today from Amazon if needed, though. Usually Amazon ships things in from Memphis, Kentucky, or Texas.
Just wait. In Nashville, if you pay the surcharge, you can get that delivered, guaranteed, in less than an hour. (I have yet to use "Prime Now," but they have a surprisingly broad selection--as shown by that toilet flapper.)
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