If someone told you back in 2000 that Amazon, eBay, and online stores won’t kill of retail and brick and mortar stores would you believe them? A click of a button from your couch and the comforts of your own home has had absolutely no affect on consumer behavior, leaving many baffled, especially since we’re in the age of convenience and are part of a “lazy” generation. The irony here is that convenience isn’t ordering online, but actually driving to the mall or store, and buying the product immediately.
Impatience and the desire to want something at that very moment is what’s keeping brick and mortar stores alive. Why wait a day or two when you could have it right now? What’s absolutely shocking is that consumers are willing to spend more money by going out and buying what they want, as opposed to ordering the same item online for much less. In what’s considered to be the age of technology, people still shop as if it’s the 20th century, and there are a few factors behind that. Teenagers who have grown up in the age of the Internet and smart phones, shop similarly to seniors and the elderly.
What it all comes down to is the experience that brick and mortar stores can offer, the ability to touch and feel the product they want to buy, and consumers having an excuse to get out of their houses. Forbes wrote an article last year on the study done on what the percentage of consumers were who preferred buying products via brick and mortar. 90% said they’d rather go to the sore or mall than shop online. The consumers who don’t make their final purchasing decision in the store, window shop, and then click the buy button online after they’ve already seen what they want in person.
This could explain why we haven’t seen the complete demise of bookstores such as Barnes & Noble, or even local public libraries. With Starbucks inside every Barnes & Noble store, people can go read their new book, surf on the Internet, and grab a cup of coffee. It’s an experience that only a brick and mortar store can offer, and it’s incredible that people would rather go out than do the same exact thing at home.
People are social beings, and even if they don’t interact with their fellow consumers while they’re out, being around others and living life outside the four walls of their living room is what they desire. This is why many predictors can speculate consumer behavior and how they’ll react to new technology that will make their lives easier, but if it means that it will change their lives completely, they won’t adapt to that as quickly. The same could be said for autonomous cars and all the hype surrounding them, but it might be safe to say that consumers desire their freedom to shop or drive whenever they feel like it.
We may be living in an age that offers convenience and the ability to stay home 24/7, but technology hasn’t fully taken over our lives to the point that we’re willing to buy products online and never leave our couches. Amazon and eBay are great when you’re lazy or you can wait the extra day or two for the item. But so far, all the speculations and predictions have been wrong, and malls and stores are still thriving today.