You have to ask yourself a new type of question, is online shopping not a conventional form of shopping? Conventional, or brick and mortar store locations have taken on a lot of the great aspects of online shopping – many times making it an add on. Almost all answers will point to online being better, but lets look at the reality of why brick and mortar or “conventional shopping” can have its complimentary strong points:
  1. The prices are on par with online. While everyone assumes online is cheaper, that’s not always true. Big brands have MAP policies to protect against price erosion. So the same camel pack backpack on amazon is just as much as it is in the store. This is quite common for many top level brands that people want. Online, you will find places that will break MAP policies, but in turn may not have the same support. For non commoditized product, say like Autoparts, there are big advantages to shopping online for price.
  2. Instant gratification. The product is there waiting for you to enjoy it. There is no wait time, although with same day service or hour delivery, its getting tough to challenge not buying online. Non-the less, instant gratification works great if your already in route.
  3. Fast Returns. Again, you can bring it to the store and return it ending your process right there and then.
  4. Pickup your online purchase in store. To be honest, I think this ones something we will look back at and wonder why anyone ever did it. Why would I pay to have something in the store aka will call when it can be delivered to my doorstep. Some people find this novelty great.
  5. Touch and Feel. The clothing industry still has a tough time finding a one size fits all model without having a digital changing room. That will change, but for now touch and feel.

Those are all the obvious ones. Where I think stores can and will excel in the future is going to be on site experience. The human touch to have people put on a smile or enjoy their time a bit more. The act of handing a coffee, beer or water to a shopper to enjoy while browsing. Diverting the attention from the actual shopping and price, to make it more fun and creating a pathway for enjoyable buying in almost a passive way.