The Death of Retail Shopping

Over the past years, according to the newspaper The Guardian, a significant number of stores have run out of business for numerous reasons. Companies like Sears have closed over a hundred of their stores due to bankruptcy. While other companies have closed due to the rise of online shopping which has taken over the retail industry. This new type of shopping has led people to not being able to do what they love which is going to the mall and spending time with their family shopping. Someone in the Cumberland Mall in Georgia said, “I come to the mall every weekend with my children, just to do something fun with them or buy them stuff since they are growing up so fast and they rarely spend any time with me”. Going to the mall is an essential part of people’s lives, whether it’s for shopping, window shopping or just being with loved ones. With the growing number of online business, it is making it impossible for these families to spend time with their loved ones in malls or stores. Instead of walking around malls and stores people can just buy the items they need on their phones, computers or tablet. Sometimes online shopping may help people that have no time to go out. Although online shopping has many benefits, retail stores have had to suffer the consequences of those benefits like bankruptcy which leads to unemployment rates increase and having less social interaction.

First, due to the rise of online shopping many stores have ran out of business. Over 6,200 stores around America are closing their stores due to the growth of online shopping. People refer to this as retail apocalypse where large number of brick-and-mortar retail stores like Best Buy are closing. “Many stores are doomed due to the internet killing their sales” say a Forrester Research analyst. According to the CityLab, the number of purchases made online between the year 2000 and 2015 has went up 10%. This has led multiple stores to file bankruptcy because of the lack of revenue and a change in customer preference. Companies like Payless ShoeSource filed for bankruptcy for the second time in February 2019, because of the challenging retail environment and their enormous debt (Cavan, 4). In total they closed 2100 of their stores in the US and Puerto Rico. While retail companies like Sears have clearly stated that the reason why they filed for bankruptcy is because of the competition in the online shopping world. Companies may be forced to close their stores that may in mall because having a store is hard which may lead them to start a shopping website since having a store means you have to pay rent and online websites don’t require that. More people are investing in the online shopping than actually going to a store or mall which is making stores lose workers. 

Another reason as to why online shopping isn’t the best type of shopping is because of the increase in the unemployment rate. There are 3 types of unemployment: frictional, structural and cyclical. In the case of the people losing jobs because of online shopping is the structural unemployment in which technology is advancing and taking over physical jobs used to have, according to the article called the Balance. When stores stop receiving customers then they lose their main source of revenue and they won’t be able to pay their workers so it leads to them quitting. Sometimes customers stop going to retail stores because they might have received bad customer service, they find an alternative shopping options like online shopping where they won’t need to deal with the bad service from stores. According to the Liberty Street Economics, this has made companies eliminate over 80,000 in the year 2012. Since the year 2002, many department stores have lost 448,000 jobs, which is worse than the Great Recession. Many of these employees are from retail stores, grocery stores and malls. Online shopping doesn’t only affect the stores and the workers but the people that used to visit the stores, especially malls.

For many people malls are considered a social place, where people can be with their friends. When people are asked why they go to the mall they have various answers but most of them include “...to spend time with their loved ones, friends and take pictures.” The mall is where some people are able to make friends and be more social. With online shopping that pretty much impossible because of the decrease in social interaction. Instead of getting up driving around people can stay in the comfort of their homes or workplaces and just do their shopping online. Sometimes this isn’t good because they might see an outfit they like online and get it thinking the size they chose is good when in reality it actually isn’t. Then they are forced to return the outfit or give it away, but if it was in a physical store they can ask an employee to help them out. Although shopping in stores is the best idea it isn't for most people.

Many people nowadays would rather stay home and do their shopping because they don’t interact with people. A lot of people have social anxiety especially when it comes to socializing with people typically in open spaced places like malls. Sometimes they might feel like they don’t fit in or people wont like so they prefer buying stuff online. On a survey conducted by Apparel Staff, in which people were asked whether they prefer shopping online than in stores, they came to the conclusion that more than half of the people that participated said they would rather shop online for various reasons but mainly social reasons. Although online shopping isn’t the beat type of shopping it has its benefits for many people.

In the end, online shopping has led to bankruptcy, higher employment rates and the decrease of social interaction. Although some people prefer online shopping because of the convenience like not liking socializing or having less time to go to stores it isn’t the best type of shopping because of its effects on society and economy. It is hard to predict the future but many have come up with the conclusion that retail shopping will be eradicated because of online shopping.

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