Merchants Trade Retail for E-Tail
A growing number of retailers, many of them small independents,
are trading in their bricks for clicks. A report on the website of The Morning
Allentown, PA said those making the switch find they can operate less expensively
while having access to a much larger number of customers than they would in
a downtown store or mall location.
Dawn Kunkle is one of the merchants that has
made the change. She recently moved out of space she shared as part-owner of
Girlfriends Boutique in Bethlehem.
"I no longer have confidence in stores and wanted to take it all online," Ms.
Kunkle told The Morning Call. "I’m being able to branch out and
bring in my fashion lines that I could not afford to do with only 600 square
feet at Girlfriends. Now my inventory is unlimited."
Ms. Kunkle runs her
business from home. None of the 900 items she sells are stored on site. Everything
is shipped directly from the product suppliers to her customers.
"Stores are too limited because they have to deal with space and they
worry about carrying inventory into the next season," she told The
Morning Call. "With this I won’t have to deal with that and I will
never have a sale for something left over and have to guess what sizes people
are wearing to fill my store."
Charles Marinello, a principal in Retail
Initiatives Consulting Group, told the paper that not all indie retailers are
ready to give up on stores.
"Online consumers know what they want and they are generally price shoppers," he
said. "Online sales doesn’t work for all items like some trendy clothes,
large furniture and things like that. The family businesses and those types
[of smaller] stores have the advantage because they have customer service and
people will still want to see and touch things they buy."
Discussion Questions: Will we see an increasing number of
independent retailers going strictly e-tail in the near future? Do you
see any large chains making e-commerce the primary selling channel in the