Whether you believe that we are all descendants of apes, it is not difficult to see from where the comparisons stem. Mankind is very basic in terms of needs, desires, and motivation. My belief that our evolution will never take us completely away from this “Primate” intuition is a consistent theme in my posts. As a sidebar, it has nothing to do with whether I feel man is inherently “Good”, or “Evil”, but that we are driven by a very basic structure of needs. But I digress…what does this have to do with Brick and Mortar Retail vs Online Retail?
The majority of discourse surrounding this topic seems quick to declare one or the other retail types, “Dead”, in the near future. The hypothesis is typically that eCommerce will completely replace traditional retail, as we all do 100% of our shopping from behind computer screens.
I think it is a mistake for anyone to take the trends we see now and try to make a declaration that “Brick and Mortar is Dead” or conversely that “eCommerce is Dead”. Often, in discussing these trends, the analyst will try to jump out on one side or the other, without considering the possibility that they may both continue to flourish in their own way.
I feel the truth is that we are seeing two separate markets which have an enormous amount of overlap, but that which will be forever successful and distinct. I would compare this to professional sports fans. Are there people who are fans of professional baseball but not professional football? Yes. Are there people who are fans of professional football but not professional baseball? Yes. Are there people who are fans of both? Yes. Does any of that consumer preference indicate that either Baseball or Football will die soon? No.
Bringing the discussion back to my opening paragraph, and the primitive needs of mankind. There will always be a segment of the population, as well as certain retail items, that will only make final purchase decisions when they can see, feel, hear, and smell the products they are purchasing. Additionally, as we now see many E-Commerce retail offerings make a move to main street, the ideal business model for maximizing market share seems to be a combination of both Ecommerce and Traditional Retail.
Main Street and the Internet of Things, can Coexist.