According to the rhetoric, “brick-and-mortar retail just can’t compete in today’s digital-first economy.” It’s said that e-commerce showrooming habits and hand-held digital devices have disrupted the existing markets and value networks of brick-and-mortar retail. According to the United States Census Bureau, e-commerce continues to see compound annual growth of more than 10 percent, and analysts do not expect this trend to slow. In 2011, U.S.-based retail and restaurant sales (including e-commerce) reached over $4 trillion. Overall, according to the United States Census Bureau, brick-and-mortar sales are flat or declining while oftentimes untaxed or under-taxed online retailers reach new heights. Retailers report “showrooming” activities, the act of browsing at a store location only to then make an online purchase, and question the ability to compete with Amazon’s quick shipping, massive selection, and bottom-line pricing.
Why concentrate on speed, selection, and pricing when e-commerce has it won? If retailers don’t like the new rules set by e-commerce, why play the game?