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Fear No E-commerce

For years, doomsayers have been predicting the end of brick-and-mortar shopping in favor of the more convenient – albeit two-dimensional – online store experience.

Call me an optimist, but I’ve never bought into the gloom-hype. My feeling has been that brick-and-mortar stores will always be around, and malls (whether open-air or enclosed or flavor-of-the-day format) will survive. A recent announcement by Staples only underscores my optimism.

On June 20, the office supply retailer announced it had launched an “omni-channel” retail concept, opening a location in Norwood, Mass., and Dover, Del. – both incorporating Staples online and mobile assets into the brick-and-mortar retail experience.

What a novel idea. Bring the entire shopping experience – online and offline – into the physical space, not only providing customers with in-store offerings but also online access via in-store kiosks.

What that tells the customer is, “We do not view the internet as ‘competition.’ It is simply another avenue from which to conduct our commerce.”

Staples isn’t the only retailer to have figured this out; it is simply a more recent example of a growing trend that should help to quiet the stores-are-out chatter.


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