I am an architect, working in the retail marketplace…so brick and mortar is my business.
I am also a consumer.
I look at online business as another tool in the toolbox of retail sales. If you choose to ignore it, your competition may get the best of you. To remain competitive, a business must adapt. Just doing more of the same thing that’s always been done is not the key to success.
Competition is good. It pushes us, it challenges us, and it takes us to new areas that we may not have realized were possible.
Just look at the simple evolution of music media. Where should we have stopped – 8-tracks, reel-to-reel, cassettes, CDs, mp3s? I can’t wait to see where we go next? Along this evolution trail there were businesses that failed to keep up, there were businesses that adapted, and there were new business that were created. Isn’t this the way it’s supposed to be?
Online business is growing at a fast pace, because it is new and in demand.
Brick and mortar growth is established and will obviously grow at a slower pace (compared to the online growth). Online retail is convenient, but it does not take the place of seeing the actual merchandise in the store or interacting with a knowledgeable sales associate. It does not satisfy our impulse buying urges. Buying online and picking up at the store is a great adaptation.
There is no doubt that online retail will impact the existing retail infrastructure. Borders and Blockbuster did not fail because of the Internet, they failed because they didn’t adapt. Not to be harsh, but if a train is coming at you and you do not get out of the way…whose fault is it if you get run over?
Today there is an evolving view that “success” is somehow bad and that “failure” is somehow the result of unfair tactics. Success is good. Sometimes failure is just the result of not trying as hard as the “successful” guy or not being as resourceful. Every “big” business today had a small start yesterday. They found a niche, worked hard, and capitalized on it. Once you get big, you don’t get to slack off.
Brick and mortar retail will always be a presence. I am staking my career on it as an architect. Some will fail, some will grow, and new ones will spring up…the online marketplace will challenge all of us to adapt.