SAN FRANCISCO, CA-- It doesn’t have to be a battle to the death, between store-based and internet-based retailing. The two models are increasingly working in tandem.
For example, retails stores are becoming convenient pick-up centers for those ordering on the net --- mini-distribution centers for the internet. Toys ‘R Us Chairman Jerry Storch made this point, during an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” He said the purchase online/pick up at the store model has flourished for his company.
I, for one, do not purchase any Best Buy products online that can’t be picked up at my local outlet.
Cost is a factor. Shipping costs can add significantly to the overall product price point. It often erases discounts available by ordering online. That cost could increase in the future.
The other is physicality -- seeing the product. But even here, the tandem works both ways. Shoppers can browse in stores, then research online, order online, and return to pick up the product within a day or two --- often enjoying special discounts online.
Then there’s convenience. As Storch points out in the CNBC interview, a shopper can purchase gifts online for friends and family members living hundreds of miles apart. The recipient can pickup the product/gift at their local outlet, The purchaser saves on the shipping costs for both the product delivery and forwarding to the recipient.
Look for more online retailers to open local stores to take advantage of the new symbiotic relationship – could an Amazon.com store near you be next.