Online Shopping to the Detriment of All except the CEO’s

Right out of the gate, being a small business owner as well as having a small independent recording label, I obviously lean toward favoring the “little guy.” The majority of the time I shop and dine at independent establishments – not chains. The service and the product is generally better, plus the $ stay in the community, which is an important aspect to consider and one that bargain hunters often forget. I could spend an entire blog on that alone, and in the future I perhaps might. But this is not the main point of this blog; although, it IS related.

First, I’m not sure I would ever buy a guitar or amp online. I need to test them out and chromatically scale the fingerboard from top to bottom. It’s important to hear how the guitar projects or how the sound is balanced. Nearly every guitar plays or sounds a bit different. With an amp I may want to compare the sound of a few different makes and models with my own guitar or one like it.

Second, I was at the mall recently. I confess that I rarely shop at the mall, again conscientiously looking to support the “little guy.” Typically at Christmastime it’s difficult to find a parking spot near the mall. It was not a problem this year. I asked the restaurant manager, whom we have a rapport with due to our frequent visits, if he thought mall traffic and sales were down this year? Unequivocally he answered, “Yes”, and then added that he had done half his shopping online. Our waitress chimed in with the fact that she had done all her shopping online and she works at the mall! She is working a lot and raising a young child and that was her justification. This seems to be an escalating trend.

To top it off, with some of the chains, they send out catalog type promotions in the mail, as we get closer to Christmas. When you trudge off to the store to purchase something you saw in the catalog, the response is often, “We don’t always carry all the products in our catalog, but we can order it and you can pick it up here.” Another mind-blowing scenario is that you can often buy the product for less online. You can see where this is leading, right?!

Stores will either need to severely downsize or not be in the mall at all, which means the malls will wither and die; especially considering the astronomical rent they charge businesses. Sometimes you just feel like going out to browse and pick up something unexpected. Often you want to see, feel and touch the product to see if it’s just right. These opportunities are at risk. It might be too late for many of you to think about it this year, but ponder this for 2016:

Before you shop online consider these factors:

  • The money doesn’t stay in the community
  • It’s a job killer
  • Malls will become extinct
  • Your taxes will rise (revenue from owner of property and sales tax will be gone)
  • Your leisurely fun and spontaneous shopping will disappear
  • Your ability to see, feel and touch a product will also be gone

I rest my case!