E-Commerce Times Talkback
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An old-fashioned post-Thanksgiving shopping excursion to the malls raised several
questions about online retail. Why doesn't e-commerce have more of a presence in the
brick-and-mortar shopping world? Better yet, why are so many retailers failing to
promote their Web sites in mass media?
I had an experience similar to the author's experience at The Gap. I went into a Kmart store to buy some linens that were advertised in a newspaper ad. The store was out of the sheets in the size and color I needed. I found a computer terminal that is supposed to let you access bluelight.com. The terminal was frozen. An employee directed me acoss the store to another terminal, but when I got there that terminal had been removed. Brick and mortar stores don't really seem committed to including their e-commerce operations under their conventional roof.
I don't get it.
Internet news sites like yours can do so much more to help this situation!!! I can't count the number of times I have posted technology news to sites 'like yours' that would bridge the gap between consumers and retailers but does anyone run the articles? All I can do is offer a link
I am curious as to where Mr. Greenberg was doing his shopping. Can you tell me where?
Many companies cannot integrate their brick-and-mortar and on-line stores because of the current inequity in the collection of sales taxes. The Supreme Court has ruled that remote retailers (catalogs, e-tailers) do not have to collect sales taxes if they do not have a physical presence (store, warehouse) in the state of the buyer. So, many retailers have separated their online and brick-and-mortar operations to ensure that the online subsidiary does not have to collect sales taxes. If the stores provide internet kiosks and integrate the online and in-store operations, then the retailer would have to collect sales taxes on online sales.
This is a bad policy that has prevented retailers from implementing a "bricks and clicks" strategy.
Congress should tell the states to simplify their sales tax systems and if they achieve simplification, then the states should be allowed to require all retailers to collect sales taxes equally.
Nice to finally hear from someone who understands the real issue.......
The concept appears sound and can benefit the corporate bottom line. However, the way corporate america operates and measures their product line(s), stores and other business lines as individual P&Ls does not encourage the correct behaviour and does not track the value of the internal advertising for another line of business (typical arrangement) or product line.
Thus, one product/business line cannibalizes the other, resulting in one entity failing to meet their financial metrics (even possibly the closure of a store). The smaller business can potentially manage this better because the principals are typically the product line managers. So, this is not as easy to do as it is to say from the outside. Can these big entities sustain this approach over tight times and time?
I think the major reason that e-tailing is not meeting expectations is that we (businesses) continue to look at applications like the web and the store from the businesses' point of view instead of the customer's. A Best-Buy ad on the TV recently promoted "shop on-line... pick it up at your local store". Now that's the ticket!
Why doesn't Barnes & Noble offer the same service? They have too much of an inward focus! Think like a consumer... history be damned and the solutions will be blindingly obvious.
Retailers would love to have a bigger presence in e-commerce. Employees, however, are not stakeholders and do not receive any incentive to advertise or recommend their companies' website. Why should employees put their job security at risk?
You ask: "Why doesn't e-commerce have more of a presence in the brick-and-mortar shopping world?" The short answer is because e-commerce isn't as profitable as traditional retail. And unfortunately, that can't change until the primary function of the bricks-and-mortar -- to store -- is added outside of people's locked front door.