Essay: The Disappearance of Stores

Columbia Southern University

Disappearing Stores

With the ever-growing popularity of online shopping it is no surprise that physical shopping at department stores is becoming a thing of the past. Online shopping has made it to where we don’t have to fight traffic to get across town, or stand in long lines at the grocery store. In a way, it has brought almost every store you can imagine to your home and in your lap. Not only can you order Christmas gifts online and have them wrapped and delivered, but you can also order groceries and have them delivered as well. In this essay, I am going to discuss how technology has overcome the sales industry and how it has affected our way of life when it comes to shopping.

A More Enjoyable Experience

When one thinks about having to go to the grocery store they rarely get excited and happy, especially if young children must tag along. With the abilities of technology these days, waiting in long lines at the grocery store can be forgotten about, same goes for department stores. Why would one want to go through the hassle when it’s just as easy to pick up your laptop, spend minutes adding items to your cart, finalizing your purchase, and either picking it up or having it delivered, all while not having to get dressed and ready to go out. With all this ability and ease, it has had its effects on store fronts and large department stores. Online companies such as Ebay or Amazon, have made it tough for large department stores such as Walmart. In a 2016 article, it states that Amazon, the leading e-commerce retailer, has had more than $71 billion worth of online sales and Walmart has done a little over $13 billion (Fedde 2016). Not only has technology made the shopping experience more easy but it has also made it more accessible. As mentioned earlier, instead of driving your car to the store, you pull out your laptop; however, using your phone to price check an item and finding it cheaper online, saves you time and money.

Accessibility and Convenience

Where stores are striving to keep up with the online sales, one area where having a store front is a benefit is when you want to preview an item first hand. “Stores are gradually becoming mere demonstration places, due to several forces: 3-D printing allows localized and instant manufacturing; radio frequency identification (RFID) tracks products at every stage; rapid transport and augmented reality promise overnight delivery (soon perhaps via drones),” (Wagner 2013). Whereas the package being flown in by drones is a little extreme, the fact that when an item is ordered online, one cannot preview it until it arrives. The greatest accessibility of using a mobile app, such as Amazon, when shopping, is that you can research and purchase an item all while still in the store. It’s as simple now as finding the item you want in the store, handling it to ensure that it’s the one to purchase, scanning the bar code with your phone, then finding it for much cheaper online and seeing that the item has great reviews. Online shopping stores are open around the clock of 24/7, 7 days a week and 365 days. It is very rare to find any conventional retail stores that are open 24/7. The availability of online stores give you the freedom to shop at your own pace and convenience. That way if one wakes up in the middle of the night and forgot that a relative has a birthday coming up, simply pick up the phone, search, and order, and in some instances, have it delivered within 24 hours.

In conclusion, with the ease and convenience of online shopping, it is here to stay. Will it completely phase out brick and mortar stores? I would say no. With the larger department stores losing to online sales, those same companies have also begun to expand into the digital online sales as well. With all the shortcuts that come with online sales, they can never replace being able to handle an item first hand and being able to see how it’s made and if it’s worth what you’re paying.


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