Few stores do not have websites, and technology retailers, such as Best Buy, are shutting down stores in part because of the internet, digital downloads, and lesser demand. Video game discs, for example, are on their way out as the digital world ushers in downloadable games, leading to the decline in brick-and-mortar retailers. Mark Gerhard, CEO of the game company Jagex, said that he thinks disc distribution of video games will significantly decrease in the next 10 years. Instead, companies will distribute games in digital formats. Downloads could lead brick-and-mortar stores to fail unless they use digital means to satisfy their customers.
Internet downloads make shopping easier as people purchase items with a couple of clicks instead of consuming gas and time to visit physical retailers. Also, online stores, like Amazon, are offering competitive prices compared to physical stores. As a result of decreased purchasing of tangible products and because of competitors, brick-and-mortar stores will decline unless they move toward the internet market.
Best Buy is simply trying a different business strategy, but some physical retailers are using the Web to keep customers via their iPhones: according to NPR, “Retailers could use this technology to build apps to guide customers through their store aisles to specific products, or even deliver discounts and coupons based on where people are standing in any particular store.” The NPR report below provides more information.
Brick-and-mortar retailers could use apps to increase in-store purchases, or they could offer more products on their website to attract and maintain customer loyalty. The internet and digital world can work for brick-and-mortar retailers if these retailers embrace the new technologies, like apps, surrounding them.