Our bricks-and-mortar (B&M) retail stores are in strife.
Prices high. Service poor. Wages stagnant. Jobs gone.
But there may be an answer …
Years ago if you wanted, say, a radio cassette recorder, you could make a day of it.
Travel to a certain road with a string of electrical stores.
Visit the first. Chat. Get a price (in writing if possible).
Go next door for another (lower) price.
Maybe try a third store.
Then shuttle between them to haggle your best deal.
It wasn’t pretty, but one of the stores that served you was rewarded with your custom.
These days, you can spend hours in a B&M store learning all you want about an object of desire, then go home, crank up a price comparison site and order online.
The B&M store that helped you gets nothing.
‘And why should they?!’ You cry. ‘They’re twice as dear as overseas outlets!’
But think on this: if our stores never get rewarded for helping us, they’re not going to do it much longer.
Then we’ll have no reason to visit them.
And eventually they’ll shut up … shop.
So I’ve got this idea for buying replaceable goods (like runners) ‘ethically’.
See what your reckon.
I need runners.
I could visit The Athlete’s Foot, get measured, grab their Fitprint analysis, pick their resident expert’s brain, scribble down their recommendation and then bugger off to order from a cheaper online competitor.
Or, I could reward The Athlete’s Foot’s time and capital investment by buying one pair of runners at their price.
Then, if the runners are as good as they say, I can buy another two or three pairs cheaply online before the manufacturer changes the style.
I’ll still save money.
I’ll also avoid the rigmarole of buying runners again for years.
Both the B&M and online stores will get paid for doing what they do best.
Win. Win. Win.
What do you think?
Vote with our feet
We’re quick to condemn local stores.
Some, of course, are truly crap.
But maybe, as with our closed ecosystem, we’re all part of the solution.
If we don’t save our domestic sector, we’ll be fully reliant on other countries.
Once they twig that we’ve no local option, they may be far less accommodating.
And if our dollar plunges to past levels, it’s all over Red Rover.
Is this idea pie in the sky?
Or a step in the right direction?
In making several kindred purchases, would you forego some discount on the first to keep local retail alive?
Would anyone else?
Or should we just let our B&M stores get with the program or die in the dirt?
I really want your thoughts on this.
Please put your best foot forward!