On-line shopping
and a possible
catastrophe.

On-line shops donít have to pay high street rents, rates or electricity. When it comes to the number of staff needed per item sold, they donít need nearly as many employees as an ordinary shop and nor do they need cleaners and general maintenance staff. They also donít suffer losses from shoplifting and so donít have to hire security guards.

Added to this is the fact that many of these on-line retailers have now grown to the point where they have the same buying power as many of the high street chains and so they can offer great discounts. This is one of the reasons on-line shopping has become increasingly popular.

But, although on-line shopping is great when a person knows what they want to buy, what happens when they donít know what to buy or canít quite make up their minds?

In times like these many solve this problem by going to a shopping centre and having a browse in the shops to see whatís available and, when theyíve decided on what they want to buy, they go home, switch on their computer and buy on-line.

However, can our high street shops continue to support on-line retailers in this way?

Will many shops be forced to close through loss of business?

If high street shops are forced to close, how will people be able to get an idea of what they want to buy before they go on-line?

Catalogues, be they physical or virtual, canít solve the problem because mail order companies have come and gone almost since the national post came into being. Almost all have gone out of business for the same reason. People discovered that when buying from a catalogue, 'what you see isnít always what you get' and so they went back to buying from the high street - a place where they could actaully touch the product before parting with any money. But at the moment buying on-line is different. After a person has taken a trip to the shops, touched the product, felt it and smelt it and decided it's exactly what they want to buy, on-line is a far cheaper alternative.

But if shops are forced out of business by on-line competition and people are unable to get ideas as to what they want to buy, does that mean there will be a great decrease in their retail spending? If there is a decrease in their retail spending, what is that going to happen to the millions employed in the factories and in getting the goods from the factory to the purchaser? (Also, there will, as the factories continue to close, be less and less for people to buy.)

In our capitalistic society where everything depends on people buying products of one kind or another, is on-line shopping the thing which is going to destroy us?

After all, no money means no heat, no comfort and no food.


*****

Recently, for example, I was told in a HMV store that HMV no longer offers a cash refund for returned goods - even if returned in an unopened condition. The reason for this, I was told, is that people sometimes walk through their store, see something they like and buy it. But when they get home they look on Amazon to see what it would have cost on-line and when they see they could have saved a substantial amount by purchasing from Amazon, they want to return the product they bought for a refund and buy it on-line for less.

But the problem is, if they hadn't seen that product as they strolled through the aisles in HMV, they wouldn't even have known that it existed. so maybe manufacturers should support shops with big bonuses so that people have a place to go and look for what they want before going on-line to actually buy it. If the shops go under .......?

---December 18, 2011---

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