Over the last few years a plethora of well-established brick & mortar stores have filed for bankruptcy and gone out of business. Many of these stores experienced a downturn in profitability for many years prior to closing. As a result of the ease and convenience of internet shopping, many brick & mortar stores have met their demise. Although it seems that brick & mortar locations are a relic of the past, some venture capitalists argue that brick & mortar stores are not going away.
The proof of this assertion can be found in the reality that online giants, such as Amazon, are now clamoring to open brick & mortar stores. Amazon and other online retailers recognize that customers want to purchase certain items in a physical store. In addition, sometimes people need an item immediately and waiting to have the item shipped is inconvenient. With these things understood, brick & mortar businesses are still viable.
Although brick & mortar stores are not going away, the operation and management of these store will change drastically. For instance, Amazon opened a new grocery store in Seattle with no carts and no cashiers. Customers simply download the Amazon Go App which allows them to connect to their Amazon accounts. This app must be downloaded and running when customers enter the store; they will not be able to gain entrance to the store without the app running. Customers can then pick up whatever items they need and the items will be charged to their Amazon accounts. With this location, Amazon is combining the convenience of technology with the practicality of having a physical location.
Although many nostalgic stores like Toys R Us and Kmart will no longer be a part of the brick & mortar landscape, physical store locations that adopt the necessary technologies will continue to thrive in the years to come. If businesses want to remain competitive, they must have an established internet presence and technologically savvy physical locations. Brick & mortar stores are not going away, they are simply evolving to better accommodate the needs of customers.