The Death of Brick and Mortar Retail – Amazon is Winning

shipping boxes on front doorstep

In Store vs. Online

Lately my front door has looked the way it does in the photo. While typically a stack of deliveries on my doorstep makes me giddy, today I’m simply frustrated.

Everything in those boxes was first shopped at a traditional brick and mortar retail store (I’ll leave names out of it – no need to make matters worse). The problem is, every time I drag myself to said stores, I walk away empty handed and disappointed. I’m an immediate satisfaction kind of gal. When I attempt and fail to pick up an item I’d hoped to get my hands on right away, all I think is – I should’ve just ordered this online? Both the problem and the solution.


While brick and mortar retail stores know that they are getting killed, they seem not to know what to do about it. Things like…have stuff available for customers to buy or employ reasonably qualified sales people who remotely understand the concept of customer service might be good places to start.

Sometimes, when I enter a store I get an eerie feeling like…am I alone in here? And sales staff, if I can find them, poke around in zombie-like states with no real desire to sell.

If you are looking for something specific, you might as well forget it. Recently, I decided to spruce up a couple of rooms in my house. I hit a few home stores to see, touch and measure my items of interest and…pointless, every time! Everything I went to see was either out of stock or no longer available. Sales staff avoided eye contact and offered lame attempts to order the items and have them shipped. Um, isn’t that online ordering – I could’ve done that from home. God, I hate wasting my time.

The sales staff were never rude, but each and every time they were clueless like it was their first day. Annoying, frustrating and indicative of positions that will soon be extinct if brick and mortar retail stores don’t get their acts together.


To add insult to injury, the influx of online customers frequently results in items that are persistently backordered. I just ordered a tiny little table online, that I could not find anywhere in a store, only to later be alerted that it was backordered until January 2018. Come on!!!! Truth be told, I find myself frequently resorting to Amazon because they have what I need, it is rarely backordered and it arrives relatively quickly. But, it’s just not the same.

At this rate, my little room makeover is going to take a year to pull together.

I know this topic has been discussed many times over with mixed reviews and potential outcomes. Here’s an article from Business Insider featuring Warren Buffet. In the linked article Buffett says, retail is “too tough an investment, especially in the age of Amazon.”


This makes me sad because, well, I like to shop. I hope brick and mortar stores figure this out. Meanwhile, I just got a notification that my latest Amazon order has shipped.

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6 years ago

I am a hold out though between my husband and my daughter we have an impassable box blocked doorway much of the time. The quality of a material, the fit of a waist band cannot be experienced online. But what I find is I buy cheap in store stuff as place holders while I keep looking for the perfect piece. So it’s a waste of time and money but still in my warped mind preferable to online shopping.

6 years ago

Stop by Izzy’s Emporium in Andover center! We custom fit women in jeans with a tailor on staff who keeps the original bottom when hemming. We offer this service as well as tops, sweaters, and accessories. We’d love to give you a positive local shop experience!

6 years ago

My problem is my kids think my Amazon Prime account is meant to be shared. We have a conversation about what the “need” and the next thing I know it’s at my doorstep. Thank goodness for Venmo so I can get paid back! I’m ok phasing out brick and mortar. I tend to buy too much of what I don’t need when I”m out shopping. Times are changing!

Betsy Travis
6 years ago

I hope the brick and mortar stores last. I love to look and try things on and would miss that a lot. I agree, it is almost
impossible to get a person to help you. I am a shopper at QVC but the difference there, is they explain everything so well.
Keep your articles coming, I enjoy them so much.

Sam Monroe
6 years ago

With the exception of Nordstrom ( and of course our dear Rose &Dove) I remark all the time that the only way I can get any attention in these stores is to steal something!

Michelle Simoes
6 years ago

I’ve been hearing about this particular subject more and more! In this day and age, we just don’t have the time – or the energy – to run to the mall! It’s so nice to mindlessly browse in store full of eye catching items but it is a luxury. Like Amazon, I am also seeing a rise in companies designed to go straight to the customer’s door, show them merchandise and let them shop in the comfort of their own home, and, if they wish, with friends! 😉

6 years ago

I feel a little pang of guilt everytime something from Amazon arrives… is my convenience ruining the brick and mortar industry AND the environment? But it’s so hard because it’s SO CONVENIENT. I do love going into a store or boutique a browsing, but that also takes time, which sometimes is a luxury we don’t have during normal business hours. We should have a brick and mortar day of shopping Beth! 🙂