Coming back from the farmer's market this weekend, I noticed another retail store closed down. This time it was my local camera shop. On rare occasions I printed digital pictures there, totaling a few dollars at most. More often I went there to check out the latest cameras, comparing their features then returning home to purchase it on the internet for a fraction of the price. Crap, no wonder it went out of business.
I'm not unique in my "shopping" methods. All across the nation Americans are using retails stores as showrooms to: check on a size of shoes or garment; play with an electronic product or even flip through pages of a book. But then we return to our computers and surf the net for the best deals. Stores cognizant of this trend have offered on-line stores along with their rock and mortar ones.
I predict that soon retail stores will only serve as showrooms for e-commerce. Retailers like Macy's will close most their stores save a few for showrooms. You can go there to check out the products, ask questions from live "consultants" and order your items from the rows of computers available. Of course you'll get some kind of discount from purchasing online from one of these computer terminals.
Virtual stores will also broker deals with places like Macy's so their Customers then can get some sort of code from their showroom visit to purchase items from home through their virtual store at yet another deal (with code). Details details.
Point is, showrooms will take over rock and mortar stores as we know it. The sooner the retails establishment realize this, the better off they will be. It may not yet be too late for them. Re-invention is key in our internet age. Too bad print media never quite caught on.