My husband, Douglas, wrote the following blog. Enjoy.
January 26th, 2010
Many scoffed 20 years ago at projections that internet retail sales would be a major factor in the future. "I'll never buy anything on the internet," so many of us said.
Well, guess what? In the third quarter of 2009, US internet sales were $34 billion. Out of a total of $922 billion in US retail sales, that figure represents 3.7% of all sales being done with a mouse and keyboard at hand in front of a computer screen.
For someone who knows what they want to purchase, the internet is the way to go. It sure beats driving 45 miles each way to a retail store to come away either empty handed because their product wasn't what you wanted, or with something you paid 20% or so above internet cost.
Forbes recently released its list of retail stores that are in serious economic trouble in 2010. Some are a victim of the internet, some the economy, and some have been trumped by discount big box stores like WalMart, Costco and Target.
Borders and Waldenbooks may be the first to fold in 2010. Amazon.com has stole the show. It's so much easier to order a book over the internet and have it at your door in a week. But there's another factor that has doomed the book retail stores. I sell my book through Amazon and 79 other internet sites, plus my own website at http://www.RoadtripBabyBoomer.com . They are printed "on demand" and I make about $5 per book. But to put your book in a retail outlet you get about $1 per book, and have to buy back any they don't sell at full wholesale price. That often makes authors owe money instead of making it. Hence, the big box bookstores have a less diversified inventory because unknown authors shy away.
Blockbuster is also in deep doo-doo. Netflix and avenues to download movies on-line have made going to the video store to pick out a movie a fading memory. The movie rental business is on its last legs.
Ritz Camera has also been identified by Forbes as a candidate for euthanasia. If you know the camera you want, it's less expensive and usually less of a hassle to buy it on-line. And really, who needs film developed anymore?
Other outlets that Forbes put on its death-watch list are KB Toys, Zales Jewelers, and Starbucks. The first two are basically victims of the poor economic times. Excessive purchases of toys and jewelry are easily eliminated from a family budget as unnecessary.
As for Starbucks, they expanded too rapidly. There's only so many yuppies out there. I'm a guy's guy. I don't care about a Sumatra and Guatemalan coffee blend, a Frappuccino, a Ski Cinnamon Dolce Latte, or an Espresso Truffle. I don't know what those are, but I'd be downright embarassed to stand there and order one. Give me a break!
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