Last year I wrote about the continued self-inflicted demise of brick and mortar stores. The pace is accelerating because of the suicidal management of the brick and mortar stores and the continued innovation of the on-line stores, most especially Amazon.com.
I am a regular shopper at our regional hardware retailer, Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH), now owned by Lowes. I’m probably in their local store 3 or 4 times a month. And it’s getting harder to shop with them, and they are not alone; just an example.
- I have needed 12″ fluorescent bulbs in “cool white” for over a year. They have a peg for them, but have not had stock. I lived with the “warm white” they had, but I finally went online and Amazon delivered them the next day with no delivery fee. I also ordered another size I need because who needs to see if OSH has them anymore.
- We decided to replace our house #s. Found some nice ones at OSH. However they were missing one of the #s we needed. I waited a week or more, went back, still out of the same #. Went to Lowes for another reason and looked for #s there. Nice display but the set we liked was not in stock. Went online and got them from Amazon, the next day (along with my bulbs).
- We needed several new plumbing fixtures as we are redoing a bathroom. OSH had a nice selection. We picked the one we liked, but no inventory in stock. Tried again the next week. Still nothing. Tried once more, gave up and bought them on Amazon. You might ask if I asked someone if they had them in stock or could get them. Fair question, but (a) why should I have to, and (b) finding someone to ask is a hunt. And…
- Whenever I check out at OSH they always ask me if I found everything ok. I always say yes. This last weekend I said “mostly.” No response other than to ring up my purchase.
Meanwhile, Amazon is shortening delivery and can get some things to you same day or next day rather than 2-days. I still think Amazon is hard to shop, but easy to buy, leaving a possible advantage for brick and mortar, but they are too busy focusing on the wrong things.
Meanwhile we can be assured the brick and mortar stores will continue to bemoan their fate: self-inflicted as it is.