Brick and Mortar stores

Usually I’m an online shopping kind of person, but there are times I need the item today. While Amazon Prime can get it to me next day,  that’s not always good enough. Here’s what I think every brick and mortar store needs to do to compete successfully with online retailers like Amazon.

I want to be able to buy *ANY* item you carry online and pick it up in the store, I’m not interested in WEB ONLY products or products you don’t even carry that are sold through other vendors. So far the best buy and pick up in store experience I’ve had has been with Sears. I take my receipt in, scan it and 2 minutes later a guy comes out with my goods to put them in my car. Unfortunately, Sears suffers from the WEB ONLY or products they don’t sell problem which sucks. One of the worst  in store pickup experiences comes from Lowes hardware. They take FOREVER to get the item. Sometimes having to call several times to get someone to go retrieve it. This summer I went in to pick up a range hood for the kitchen, it took 20+ minutes before they got the item. That’s just ridiculous, I even offered to go get it myself.

Another thing that brick and mortar stores suck at is SHIPPING items from their site. We recently orders some items from Kohls, let’s just say it’s been more than a week and I still haven’t gotten all of the items 🙂 They take way too long to ship items or their shipping prices are more than the actual items, like IKEA. They charge $249 to ship in NC for a $170 desk, grant it they have an excuse furniture is heavy. Still we ordered a TV cabinet from Amazon and got FREE shipping on it, like this TechCraft credenza. That was one heavy box and yet it was FREE to ship. So between high priced shipping or slow shipping, brick and mortars have a long way to go.

I realize that brick and mortars make their money by having consumers wandering through the store so they buy more, but I’d argue you’d get more people to come in if they could see you have the item, and be able to purchase and pickup at the store. It’s a sale they probably wouldn’t have had anyway.

And yet another thing is INVENTORY. Why is it so hard in 2012 to have an accurate inventory accessible online? I went with a friend recently to Radio Shack to pickup an item that online showed In Stock only to have the store be out of stock. Really? have we made no advances in technology to keep track of inventory?

For now, unless I need the item TODAY, I’ll stick with shopping online at Amazon, Crutchfield, Newegg, and Monoprice. Maybe one day, hopefully before they go out of business, brick and mortar stores will figure out how to compete effectively with online retailers.  Happy online shopping folks!