Sunday, 16 January 2011

The demise of shops?

I was pondering, especially with the fiasco with the Three store and the police earlier, how do high street shops expect to survive...

Some shops really seem to have no clue what their unique selling points are. To me they are:-
  1. You can see a choice of things to buy, and actually see they are real, touch them, try them out (try them on if clothes), discuss them with the shop keeper, etc.
  2. You can walk away with the item if you decide to buy it
  3. You can deal with problems later face to face
There are some shops with such little clue - I have been to shops that don't have what I want but will be able to order it in. This misses the point - I can order in almost anything on the internet for next day delivery and have the distance selling directive on my side. Why would I have a shop get it in and then have to go to the shop to get it?

Some have no clue what they are selling, and a web site can carry way more detail.

Ultimately the thing shops have to appeal to is impulse buying - people seeing something and wanting one. Actually seeing the thing there and then is a huge help psychologically and is way better than a picture on a web site. Having it in stock to take away is also a huge help.

I remember the days of real shops. You had shop-keepers not sales-men and they knew what they were selling and could tell you about it and help you choose a product. Then they had stock, took cash without wanting to know your date of birth and favourite colour, and made buying things much more useful and fun. Well, nostalgia isn't what it used to be...

I've been thinking that getting phones on-line already gives more choice. Now it seems that things like resolving problems is better on-line too.


  1. With regards a shop ordering in - you may have to wait a day and go back, but it means you then still have all the advantages listed. I know the distance selling regulations allow you to change your mind and return items, but that is at your cost for return delivery - which could be a lot for heavy items.

  2. Lots of on-line stores do not cover that in their terms, so they have to collect or pay return delivery, which is the default. But that is a fair point.

  3. Was saying to the wife only a couple of days ago about this --- I had independently arrived at the same conclusion...