Amazon, Wayfair, E-Bay, Alibaba and many other online mega stores are transforming how we shop for goods and services. Shopping has almost always meant travelling to a store and buying a product. We’re still making the journey to a store, but the word “travel” appears to have taken on a new meaning.

The traditional storefront is being transformed into a digital dashboard that streamlines the process and drops the product on your doorstep. Travel is now measured in mouse clicks as opposed to mileage clicks and retail therapy now involves staring at a screen and filling a virtual shopping cart. Does this spell the end of “brick and mortar” stores?

Online shopping is growing at a rate three times faster than the traditional “brick and mortar” visits, according to recent research by Deloitte, and was projected to represent over half of the holiday sales in 2018’s fourth quarter. More people buying online means fewer visits to the mall….right? If that’s true it’s not a reach to think that the number of “brick and mortar” shops are going to decrease and maybe disappear altogether.


The fall of massive retailers such as Sears, Toys R Us, and Nine West are all symbols of the digital transformation that is chipping away at the survival of traditional retail. Many industry experts believe that the change is part of an evolution that puts the weaker species of traditional retail into extinction while the stronger move on. Is the struggling storefront going to persevere or is e-commerce going to be the asteroid that wipes it out?


The folks at Google seem to think that “brick and mortar” is here to stay and will become an important part of the mobile shopping experience. Instinctively we all want to be able to touch what we buy or be able to get it whenever we can afford it. As Google suggests, many people start their journey online and then complete the shopping experience in a local store, rather than waiting for it to arrive.


The largest online retailer in the world, Amazon, is clearly reading the same research data as Google. Their recent evolution into “brick and mortar” with Amazon Go shows that even the biggest online stores see the benefit of creating a hands-on shopping experience.


So, for now, it looks like retail therapy may be safe. There is a transformation underway but it seems that until we have a Star Trek Replicator or Holodeck in our homes we’re stuck with shopping at a grocery store or lining up at the Best Buy for Black Friday deals. The upside is we can stare at our mobile screens when we’re standing in the lineup.