Do you think the Pandemic will change the way we shop permanently? Right now the stores aren't really refilling the shelves because so many shoppers order online. So I'm thinking this could be a trend and the decline of the "superstore".
Superstores, Walmart, Target, Lowe's, Home Depot and others have created huge internal malls. Instead of shopping malls with a variety of shops the superstores have a wide variety of departments BUT malls are becoming more obsolete over the last 2 decades, partly do to the superstores and I was pondering that this crisis of in-person shopping might also be the death of the superstore.
I know with my order online and no contact pick-up, it has spoiled me and I won't go back to in-store shopping unless I have to.
What do you think?
It might change the way many/some people shop. For me personally, I live in a rural area with few options so online shopping is nearly my norm even before the pandemic. I still have to pick up most of my orders from the post office in town. Online shopping does not allow me to avoid face to face contact with other people. Only a few courier services would drop off packages at our place.
Even before the pandemic, online shopping made the concept of a superstore seems inefficient/old fashioned to me in so many ways. It takes time and effort to travel to a physical store with no guarantee that you will even find what you are looking for. In addition, fully stocked stores will inevitably have unsold inventory which is wasteful and not at all eco-conscious. I envision a small storefront type model with limited inventory where consumers can see, touch or try on samples and then purchase made-to-order items in the desired size, color etc. This would help eliminate the production of unneeded goods.
Anecdotally, even people with jobs and resources tell me they are spending less and realizing they are needing less. Shopping as an activity is becoming less and less appealing. This pandemic may be the thing that turns the tide away from conspicuous consumption and rampant consumerism. At least I hope so.
Do you remember a chain called “Service Merchandise” back in the 70s and 80s? They were a showroom with 1display of each inventory item. You could look at it, feel, turn it on etc. If you wanted to buy, you put the item info on a clipboard and turned that in, paying at that time. Then the item(s) would come down a large conveyor, in full packaging. I am thinking that they gave up a little too soon. A hybrid of physical store and online ordering might really work, now.
I agree with you, I have to try on clothes, esp shoes, before buying. I think one item fits of every ten I try on! Also, I really need to see produce before buying. I stock up on what’s looking good that day.
If my personal thoughts are anything to go by, I will probably enjoy going back to the high street at least, but will still be shopping on line more than I did a year ago. there will be a balance found eventually, and I think that there is value in seeing and handling the goods, and speaking to the sellers in person, ( especially in the smaller high street shop ) but the big out of town stores, not so much.
I do not think the shelves are bare because the stores cannot be bothered, I think that the shelves are bare because we are teetering on the brink of severe shortages or perhaps just failing harvesting & distribution, poorly covered up by speading the shelves thinly with whatever they have so mass panic does not ensue.
Remember what happened with TP, for no reason whatsoever? Now imagine if even just a few foodstuffs were suddenly seen to be "unavailable". I am buying a gun.
I never was a recreational shopper, and only used shopping malls as needed for gift buying. Over the past couple decades, the rude and inconsiderate behavior of other shoppers, crowded retail staging, and parking hassles just magnified that. Online shopping suits me in so many ways to comparison shop, select delivery/pickup options, avoid crowds, now more than ever!
As it becomes easier and easier to order online and have items delivered to your vehicle or your home, I do think that in store shopping will take a hit. Having enjoyed the convenience of online shopping even before the pandemic, and seen the convenience that is click and collect schemes, i'm sold.
I don't see farmers markets, butcher shops, bakeries or those kind of businesses going away anytime soon (as those tend to be items people like to see before they buy). However, anything non-perishable that is in a sealed box, bag, or can . . . who cares if it comes from a department store, or in the mail in a cardboard box. Same item, less hassle.
I can also see many typical mall-type stores going away as well, but not necessarily entirely. Rather than having to constantly bring in and maintain a large amount of inventory (which costs money in labor, shrink, etc), I can picture a more streamlined experience in the future. A smaller storefront with far less available on hand inventory, but a much more interactive experience. Instead of selecting your approximate dimensions out of a stack of clothing, maybe you could have the clothing you want designed to precisely your dimensions. This is then either manufactured on site, or delivered (be it to the store, or to your home).
It's certainly an interesting thing to ponder, though it spells trouble for those working in the service industry. However, this is why i've been trying to ponder what the next step of humanity should be. Today, we are defined by the work we do or don't do. So what is the next step of humanity?
I've had a fair bit of time to think about this, having seen and heard many people shunning things like self checkouts because of "JOBS!". If that is how we tackle this problem, then we are in for hell of a rude awakening . . .
I haven't seen a movie in a theater for a year. In fact, the last movie I saw in a theater was Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and it was awful. I really want to go see movies in theaters again. I'm wondering if that will ever be something we can do now that most movies are released through a streaming service.
Personally, I like to go to see products in person. I don't think I am alone in this.
The pandemic will change shopping practices to some extent and after the pandemic is over, things won't go completely back the the way things were, but some of the old shopping ways will partially return.
Before the pandemic, I'd look at products on line and look at product reviews before I buy things. When it came to my TV, I went to Best Buy and looked to see which TVs had to best picture, and then bough the TV on line which save me $300. That was after I also checked the product reviews on line.
I found that if you use the 20% off coupons at Bed Bath and Beyond, the product price is usually lower than the Amazon price for a lot of products. I save the coupans as they come int he mail because you can only use one coupon per item, but most locations will also take expired store coupons. One time I went near Christmas, and I had about half a dozen coupons left in the stack, so after making my purchase I turned aroudn to the customers in line and handed them out to other customers in line.
Anyway, for some things, you just want to see the product in person before buying it. I think many store chains will go out of business or reduce locations. In turn this will in turn force malls and other commercial spaces to lower the ratailer's rents, which will keep some stores in business.
The trend for online shopping over in person retail shopping has been evolving for some time now. There's no telling though, as people need socialization, so it's possible an in person revitalization may swing the pendulum back towards retail. But then I think the popular trend will swing back to internet. Just my take on it.
For me personally my shopping habits have changed once we were able to order online, now with the pandemic yes I agree that it's much easier to order ahead hopefully the people pulling the orders are being paid at a rate where they can survive also. And now for something really important. where's the donuts!
I don't think I will ever shop in quite the same way again. I prefer shopping in person because items are more expensive with delivery fees, and it's harder to see what's on sale. That being said, I do like the pick-up feature for when my day is full or I just don't have the energy to shop.
My wife has shopped online for quite a few years with good results, clothing,gifts,electronics.
I used Amazon for all my Xmas shopping this year.
I worked at Lowe's for a bit last year, every week on line sales showed an increase. There are many retailers who maintain lesser inventory in the store with a secondary inventory on line only.
Brick and mortar retailers end up as show rooms only. People come in to look at colors,styles, models etc. then go online for the best deal.
Enclosed malls are on their way out being replaced by strip malls. Reason? Do not have to heat or cool parking lots. Enclosed malls have a lot of square footage that cost the owner without any revenue generated. Economics.
Stores like Walmart and Target I could see going away sooner than they would have because of all this.
But to put lowes and home depot in that same breath is foolish. Anyone who knows what they're doing always inspects lumber before they purchase it. Getting rid of those won't happen as long as we have a construction industry.
I find that ordering things online for home delivery , increases the costs of most delivered items . With everyone claiming being underpaid for working , and also loosing income due to the pandemic , I keep wondering how they think they can waste their income for this kind of convience ?