When so much shopping is done online, will department stores be vacant in the near future? While stores like TJ Max and Home Depot are still steadily able to bring in customers with their high end deals and expert staff, department stores are lacking this appeal. These types of stores, which include Target and Wal-Mart (where you can eat, shop, and play) won’t be seeing a decrease in customers due to online competition though. It’s the Macy’s and Sears of the world that are feeling the effects of their competitor’s online shopping success and unique buying experience.
Stores like TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack have found continued success in being the alternative to big, monotonous department stores. They are still pulling customers in with their promise of finding hidden valuables (top designer merchandise at a steal) – essentially a consumer treasure hunt. These deals keep the customer coming back as opposed to the mass produced commodities that stores like Sears and JC Penney offer. It gives the customer a unique shopping experience that often times can’t be duplicated online. This tactic has kept them from closing out stores.
With the threat of an ever evolving and innovative shopping experience that online retailers like Amazon provide, these once dominant retailers are finding it harder to keep up and stay relevant. They have felt this push and it has caused over 700 store closings over the past 3 years. With the purchase of Zappos in 2009, Amazon has seamlessly budded into the apparel industry and continued this push online ever since. Offering a larger and more diverse collection of clothing and shoes than ever before, their sales handily beat out the online sales of their competitors like Macy’s.
Department stores need to learn to adapt to these new trends or they will face complete extinction. With the appeal of “door busters” becoming obsolete (i.e. Black Friday deals going into effect on Thursday, the actual holiday) this draw has become less appealing and unpopular. Despite the ease and accessibility that online retailers offer, consumers still have that inherent want to touch and view products in person – especially for baby boomers. If department stores can incorporate this nostalgic aspect while adapting quicker to new trends and online sales they may not be counted out so soon.