Internet shopping v The high street stores

noproblem

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Of late i've noticed members of my own family, their friends and others buying many of their needs on the internet. Household goods, footwear, clothing, toys, beauty products and pharmaceutical in particular are popular buys. Reasons given to me when I asked why they shop this way are usually the price and the convenience, no parking, far better prices, choice, quality and great delivery Now and again they visit the high street shops/chains, check out price, new styles, what's popular, etc, come home, meet up with friends to browse and google and then make their purchase. I understand some of the high street stores have an internet presence but a lot of the purchases are from other companies. Very obvious with all the courier companies delivering parcels here there and everywhere throughout the country that this shopping is getting more popular by the day and it's certainly going to have a massive effect on the high street trade. Plenty of high rents paid by major labels and everyone else in renting out places at the moment, some locked in for years and all that. But what happens when the bottom falls out of their business's and they can no longer the rent? Will we see an epidemic of closed doors, unpaid rents with huge knock on effects as a result. What do people think?
 

dub_nerd

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"Will we see an epidemic of closed doors"

Wrong tense. The epidemic is well underway. Bricks and mortar retail is on its last gasp.
 

odyssey06

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It's also a factor of less and less people working & passing through the city centre. I definitely spent a lot more 'on the high street' when I worked 15 minutes walk from it.
Even then, sometimes it was easier to find a book or an item with a quick online search than rooting around a store. It's a more efficient model.
High street stores need Argos like IT system so you know what's in the store \ can reserve in.
 

deranne

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Yes, we closed our business due to this and a greedy landlord. Now both husband and I are on social welfare, just got the medical card and we are both signed up to do retraining skills courses over the coming months. How much is that costing the taxpayer? loss of vat on products and services, loss of local authority rates, vat on these items plus loss of business to the insurers, suppliers, utilities etc We will get back to work eventually but in the meantime it will cost the taxpayer. The government need to draw up a tax on online sales done through the delivery service to stave this off and to recoup loss of revenue for Ireland inc.
 
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Brendan Burgess

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If I want a book, I will look for it at the Book Depository or ABE.

At the same time, I will be sorry if and when the local bookshop closes down. But he can't be expected to hold the same stock. I look in his window as I pass, but if I go in to buy a specific book, he would rarely have it.

I could go into town and wander around Hodges Figgis. But it's just easier to order it online.

Is that a bad thing? Not sure that it is. It's bad for the guy who owns the bookshop and maybe for his landlord. But should I pay extra to keep it open? I don't think so.

Should some sort of extra tax be placed on online sales to protect him and deranne? I don't think so either. I assume that the Book Depository competes on a level playing field in terms of taxes.

Brendan
 

mathepac

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I shop online a lot and make no secret as to why - pricing, convenience, customer service, after sales service and not having to explain 10 times what it is I want. Being treated as a customer by the bots is nice rather than as an idiot or as an interruption to the exchancge of social lives being recounted by gum-chewing sales assistants.

Unfortunately the branches of the UK high street names are not exempt from adopting Irish after sales service attitudes. Currys/PC World Carlow is a case in point On trying to return a defective monitor after two weeks for repair or replacement with a receipt, I was told I would have to pay to ship the monitor back to the manufacturer (in China!) and pay for the repair. Not even the best of our local Del Boys have come up with that one.

I love books, I love book-shops and I love shopping for books but pricing for imported books, magazines and periodicals in Ireland is dictated by a cosy cartel of distributors who only ever chase currency fluctuations upwards. EASONS hedge their bets against retail closures by opening their own retail outlets/newsagents. Thus I shop in the same places as Brendan and buy digital versions of some magazines and periodicals as well as some books.

It's sad but what can I do on a fixed income? I use 2nd hand book-shops and libraries but there is something about opening your own fresh copy of the latest what-ever-takes-your-fancy. Of all the Christmas/birthday/fathers-day presents I am fortunate to get each year, my favourites are inevitably from my brother and my daughter who have never missed the mark with any book they buy me. I'm an inveterate sniffer of new books. Paper, dust-jackets, covers, type-faces everything about a new book is a joy to me.

It's disheartening to see the decline in small shops but I have to say some retailers have made their own contribution to the decline in small local shops.
 

elcato

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There are some things I won't buy online, namely clothes and shoes as I like to see what I'm buying. There will always be impulse shoppers, bargain hunters and browsers in clothes stores so I think they will survive but they just need to trim down the fat that they added over the years. I used to like Argos as I felt I could just bring something back if it didn't quite add up to the brochure but having had them refuse to take it back once I forego them. For some reason I prefer to buy stuff in a shop as I don't trust delivery not breaking them or they being not quite up to scratch. The dodgy websites that sell not so good stuff are still keeping high street shop open imo.
 

Jim2007

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Reasons given to me when I asked why they shop this way are usually the price and the convenience, no parking, far better prices, choice, quality and great delivery Now and again they visit the high street shops/chains, check out price, new styles, what's popular, etc, come home, meet up with friends to browse and google and then make their purchase.
It is happening all over. When I came to Switzerland thirty years ago I was amazed the most people bought their clothes mail order, just like I read about in marketing course. I was sure it would die out, but no it has actually grown, mail order just went online. Most of these Swiss online shops don't give cash discounts, they give a gift when you buy so much, usually a handbag or sports bag. So when you take public transport you can really see the impact, up to perhaps 50% on the bus/tram/train have the same handbag or sports bag. Several clothing chains have now closed down in the past few years. My daughter (17) still goes clothes shopping with her friends on a Friday evening, but I can't remember the last time my wife or mother-in-law were in a clothes shop.

The other big one here is online grocery shopping. A couple of years back the two big grocery chains offered a winter online option because weather conditions meant the it was not easy for people to get to the shops. Of course once people got used to it, it kept getting extended until now it is all year around. Most non perishable stuff is delivered once a week from the warehouses, with additional deliveries being more expensive. Perishable stuff comes from the local shop as required - the delivery boy/girl is back! They are a common sight around the town on the bikes with their little trailers.
 

SBarrett

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Insurance companies are selling retail units and buying logistics warehouses. They have seen what way it is going. Will the high street shop be nothing more than an advertisement for online shopping? Keep a few sizes of each item in stock so people can try them on, then go home and buy online? Betting shops are already doing that.

Not sure on the revenue losing out on VAT. A client of mine has an online business and posts products all over the Europe. He has to pay VAT in all the countries that he is shipping goods to. He said it is extremely complex though. They are certainly losing out on income tax.
 

Ceist Beag

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Shops I like to visit would be book shops (I love popping into Hodges & Figgis when in Dublin), gourmet food shops (again Sheridans in Dublin is a firm favourite and it's great to see they are now branching out to partner with Dunnes Stores branches), wine shops and hardware shops. The main reason for this is the experience and the opportunity to talk to knowledgeable staff (and the smell in Sheridans! :D ). To a lesser degree I would also pop into shoe and clothes shops as I prefer to try on these rather than buy online (although for sports clothes and the like I would buy a lot of these online too).
For a lot of other merchandise I am perfectly happy buying them online. I always do my own research for holidays and such so travel agents are out for me. I much prefer doing research online for electronic purchases so would only buy from retailers here if I really needed something in a hurry.
As others have said, this is not something new - retail units have been boarded up in some towns for over 15 years now.
 

gravitygirl

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I read about new trend in retail recently "weekday convenience, weekend experience" whereby people shop online during the week usually out of convenience for things they need to get etc. but then at the weekend look for a shopping/food/day out type experience. I think this does make sense e.g. combining a brunch visit with a potter round the local bookshop or maybe browsing homeware or foodie stores etc. Click and collect is an interesting model that is growing too and combines both the physical and online worlds and a lot of stores find it eliminates or reduces the cost of returns etc. and can get away with have smaller stores so can be a win-win. I use it a lot myself - it has the convenience and extensive choice of online shopping without the hassle of waiting in for deliveries etc.

I buy a lot of stuff online, but I do make a conscious effort to support shops that give good service, or where I make use of their stores to browse and try products extensively. For example, the other day I was browsing some non fiction books in a dubray store for 10 or 15 minutes before I found a good one I was interested in. I could get it cheaper online for sure, but would probably not have come across the book online and been able to have a root through a good few to see which was best, so I was more than happy to pay €15 versus just under a tenner online delivered as I appreciated and valued they service they provided. If I had found the book online or had read about it in the paper etc. I would have just gone straight online to buy it, but as I said I don't mind paying for a service if I have used it, including browsability and good customer service/advice.
 

peemac

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As a retailer that has both online and physical store, the weekday convenience / weekend experience is very true. We have found that weekday turnover in the physical store is down 20%+ in the last couple of years, whereas weekend turnover is up by similar percentage

Online, weekends are fairly quiet compared to during the week when it can be extremely busy.

But physical retail has to offer an experience and that's where the larger stores have an advantage - the new primark store opening in Birmingham opening next month will show what can be done. But at a massive 160,000 Sq ft, it has the space to do something different
 

username123

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For me, I have recently had some very annoying experiences of buying clothes and shoes online. I had to return I would say 3/4 of them due to sizing issues. Without trying them on, it's really hit and miss I find. Even if you think you are a medium, that doesnt mean anything between various brands, and even within brands e.g. I bought two similar items of same size from brand X and one was too small! This is a real pain if you have to pay shipping to return it. I was much happier to pop into Dublin city centre last week and bought two pairs of jeans and a pair of runners in total comfort.
Electronics, books, holidays, flights etc all online, but clothes and shoes are regular shops for me.
 

dub_nerd

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mathepac

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Thanks but I was quick to point out to Della Girl behind the counter and her boss the errors of their ways and updated their interpretation of EU consumer laws. It's frightening how little training time is invested in sales assistants and their employers' obligations to consumers.
 

odyssey06

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Thanks but I was quick to point out to Della Girl behind the counter and her boss the errors of their ways and updated their interpretation of EU consumer laws. It's frightening how little training time is invested in sales assistants and their employers' obligations to consumers.
There's another possibility - a lot of training time has gone into getting the assistants to be this useless to customers.
 

Monbretia

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I buy a lot online these days, when I was working and in town everyday then lunchtime trips to shops were handy so I usually bought clothes/shoes etc that way. But I now would buy I would say most of those things online other than the odd impulse buy if I'm in a shop. It's as much a cost issue as convenience plus the massive selection that you just don't have in a small town.

I check the sizing guides and read the reviews for clothes/shoes where normally someone will say if it's a small or large fit for the size and haven't had many issues, most can be returned free of charge, bit of a nuisance wrapping up and dropping to wherever but not a major thing.

Big items like fridge/cooker sort of things I buy locally in general, smaller items online again for convenience and selection.

At this stage it's definitely like a lifestyle thing to go shopping on weekends, brunch first maybe and then a ramble around the shops. I can't imagine anything I'd like to do less on a day off. I don't shop for groceries online as I like to see what I'm buying when it comes to food but I could see how that would be very convenient if working instead of wasting off time in a supermarket.

I don't know what the shops are going to do long term, I notice now when I am in town that the streets are so much quieter than when I was working there, some days you can go to cross the street and there won't even be a car coming from either side. Another I notice is you can always get a table at lunchtime, years ago I couldn't go for lunch in most places unless I was there before one or had someone else with me to hold a table. Now there are loads of tables even at the height of lunchtime, a combination of less people in town and more restaurants/coffee shops as that seems to be the only business that keeps opening.
 

Peanuts20

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104
Unfortunately the branches of the UK high street names are not exempt from adopting Irish after sales service attitudes. Currys/PC World Carlow is a case in point On trying to return a defective monitor after two weeks for repair or replacement with a receipt, I was told I would have to pay to ship the monitor back to the manufacturer (in China!) and pay for the repair. Not even the best of our local Del Boys have come up with that one.

It's disheartening to see the decline in small shops but I have to say some retailers have made their own contribution to the decline in small local shops.
Had a bad experience at the same Currys, went in with the intention of trying to buy a number of things worth around €1500 and once I did finally get the attention of an "assistant" he was as much use as a chocolate tea pot and had the manners of a pig. So I went to another local independent retailer who sorted me out, delivered everything free of charge and when we found out that the dishwasher we'd bought was a mm too big to fit into the space in the new kitchen, he took it away and replaced it with a slightly smaller model at no extra cost to us. That's service and that is why we go back there now. He's differentiated himself from the big chains and online simply be the excellent service he offers.

I do a lot of book buying online (some of the 2nd hand charity shops are excellent as well) but am also a sucker for 3 for 2 in Easons. I've done more of my clothes shopping online as well and it all comes down to convenience, cost and service. Too many Irish retailers still think they are doing us a favour by simply existing. I'll use them for the day to day necesseties, for uniquely Irish goods, for spur of the moment and for where I may require some additional post sales service. But to be honest, if I can get better value on line, I'll go on line

Worth pointing out as well that for any retailer, their local LEO (Local Enterprise Office) has grant support which will help them get online as retailers. I know from talking to LEO, they almost have to drag Irish companies to the online market place.
 
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