Big-Box Stores Face Possible Death

BC Business Magazine Cover Oct 2012

A recent article in BC Business magazine caught my eye.  The headline boldly stated “BIG-BOX STORES FACE POSSIBLE DEATH”.

Many years ago, big-box retailers changed the face of retail across North America, and in the process knee-capped tens of thousands of locally-owned independent retailersOnline retailers are now threatening to do the same to big-box retailers.  The trend is called "showrooming".  Consumers are using retail stores to research items and then buying them online, where they are often cheaper.

There is no doubt “showrooming” is changing the face of retail yet again.

Currently, this trend is mostly impacting the sale of consumer electronics and other high end goods.   But, as mobile technology improves, this trend will start impacting other industries as well.  I recently had a conversation with a shoe retailer who was experiencing this firsthand. 

Retail chains are fighting this trend by providing better in-store service.  Some retailers are even price-matching online retailers.  But this is not a long term solution.  How can brick-and-mortar retailers compete on price when they have the added costs of running a retail operation?  How will “showrooming” impact toy retailers?  How will it impact the sale of board games and jigsaw puzzles?  Let me know what you think!

Other than competing on service, and of course by not making customers wait for their deliveries, how can brick-and-mortar retailers compete against online retailers?  I would be curious to hear what you have to say!