Wednesday, March 27, 2013
What goes around comes around
I heard just yesterday that a store in Australia will soon institute a $5 "cover charge" to come in and look around. They say they are trying to discourage people from coming in and trying out whatever it is they sell, then going home and ordering it online. (If you do buy from them the retailer credits back to you your $5 cover charge.)
Interesting. I can imagine their frustration with people like ME who look locally, but often buy online. Not always though....I'll buy locally if the difference is just a few bucks, but for 30% or 40% difference, it's Amazon here I come!
But here's why I don't feel guilty about doing that: The big stores that I shun to order online are generally the same big national stores that blew into town 10-20 years ago and put all the local mom-and-pop stores out of business. Seems to me they're now getting a taste of their own medicine. To me this is just retail evolution.
Home Depot didn't shed any tears when they put Plaza Hardware out of business. Nor did Best Buy show any remorse when they pretty much destroyed Hollingshed's Appliance. Same with Walgreen's and CVS as they shuttered Payne's Drug Store. And who killed Larry's Shoes, and do I have to say anything at all about all those little guys Walmart squashed?
Some things I won't buy online or from a catalogue. Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware both send me a very nice catalogue several times a year full of their new offerings. I've found their furniture to be of commendable quality, but how do you buy a chair, for example, without sitting on it first? I don't care what it looks like if it doesn't pass my butt test.
Shoes....I've found that even within the same brand line, shoes can feel different. I want to try them on in a store and see if a particular style is all-day comfortable. If so, then it's time to check Zappos, may the best cut-throat mega-retailer win.
And now a plug (unfortunately uncompensated) for my all-time favorite online retailer, LL Bean. I've just replenished through them my summer wardrobe....3 pair of chino shorts, 3 very nice polo shirts, and 5 (various colored) t-shirts. And if something is wrong, they make it right, no arguments. Can't beat that!
If I was a big brick-and-mortar retailer, I'd be scared. VERY scared.