Is the retail sector dead? Not exactly, but it may only be a matter of time. If media reports are to be believed (and why wouldn’t you believe the media), then perhaps, as strong-willed, red-blooded females oozing the X factor , we should be afraid, very afraid. At least I know I am.
It would seem that just about every other day another retail presence has shut up shop. There will be no competing with rising rents, wages, taxes and the ever growing online sector, snapping at its heels (high heels) at every single click of a mouse. I love to shop and its true of every other female I know. We love ‘doing it’, can’t get enough of ‘doing it’ and will do it whenever and however we can and that’s just what the world of online shopping has afforded us, the ability to do it all the time. Cyber space is the place to be, and not it would seem, down the road at our local sprawling Westfield.
Guilty? My penchant for online shopping has gone through the roof. It’s a God send for anyone who is time poor, cash poor, logistically poor and just plain bored. Lets face it, there’s a whole array of cool, funky desirables online that aren’t so easy to come across at the store. Catch words like ‘original’,'handmade’, ‘eco’, ‘local’, ‘unique’ and ‘free shipping’ are music to my ears and tend to lend themselves to a more satisfactory and feel good shopping experience overall.
Of course there is still plenty of access to all the usual mass-produced consumer items we see everyday, from fashion to fiction to furniture. Group buying websites have spawned in epidemic proportions. I’m subscribed to just about all of them, yet I have only ever made 2 purchases this way, once for plastic lunch containers and once for some kids clothes, which arrived two sizes too big and have hung in the cupboard since. So why then suffer through the constant bombardment of emails everyday? I don’t want to miss the opportunity of a bargain, regardless if I buy it or not. I still want to be in the know. I can now purchase from international stores without so much as leaving my seat, much cheaper than an airline ticket and no jet lag. Why wouldn’t you?
I’ll tell you why. The answer lies in the above-mentioned X factor. I love to shop, and for me, that means more than just buying, it’s about time spent with my mum, or my sisters, or my girlfriends, pursuing the window displays, touching, feeling, trying things on (thus far impossible to do in cyber space), and being out and amongst it. It’s a good old fashioned female past time that I don’t want to see die. Shop assistants are screaming under their friendly smiles… “Buy it from me now please and don’t go home and Google it and NO, you can’t have the model number”. It’s tough out there.
Is there going to be a happy medium? Are all the shops going to disappear? Only time will tell, but perhaps I should do a little less ‘clicking’ and a little more ‘clickity clack’.