Brick and Mortar Sales Plummet, but Online Holds its Ground



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Keith E. Whisman

How about when you purchase an item on the internet but select to make an in-store pickup like what you can do at Wal-Mart and Fry's Electronics? Is this considered an online order and contributes to the lower physical store sales over internet sales?



I bought a TV from Amazon last year, but I have a feeling I'm in the minority on this. In other words, the reason Amazon's sales held pretty steady is that they make bank on "small ticket" items. Most people still go to a brick & mortar for larger items, and it's the larger items which people aren't buying right now.




At least people know about it.

       Ever since going to Newegg, I have never bought anything except DVDs and games from Brick-and-Morter. For anything else, I will go online. Quality, price, and the simplicity brings me to it. You may not think it's simple, but it is in my book.



There are indeed some folks who claim they make more purchases online because it is cheaper. However, unless you make every single purchase from a mega e-tailer, this is not always the case. You have shipping costs to take into consideration versus cost of driving to brick and mortar.

In additon, if the item you purchased is not to your satisfaction, you have the costs of shipping the item back and forth for exchange. 

Online retailing is convenient and for most people who know exactly what they want, it is a good experience to be able to sit in your chair, make a few clicks, fill in some information and your done. No holiday crowds, no traffic. And if your purchasing either for a cheap shipping rate such as 5 dollars or better yet, completely free... Then it becomes very compelling and I think this is where Amazon is gaining ground. They have many products available and no cost shipping on low dollar orders. 

As for taxes, many states need to go back to the model of an income or property only tax and drop the costs of trying to account for sales taxes or enforcing the collection of. I have lived in two tax free states now, Montana and New Hampshire who do very well without sales taxes. After owning and operating an online retail site in New Hampshire for 3 years, I believe in no sales tax more than ever.



I think the shift to online shopping will continue.  I already buy almost everything online simply because it will always be cheaper.  I do wonder if eventually we will have to rethink the sales tax model for buying online.  I really like not having to pay taxes on larger items by buying online (I know technically I am supposed to later on my tax forms), but it seems like states are losing a very very large sum from this.

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