Dept of Commerce Says People Prefer to Shop In-Person? Not on My Watch

Dept of Commerce Says People Prefer to Shop In-Person? Not on My Watch

Hello, it’s me, Grant, the guest blogger for savingsdotcom who has brought you such guest blogs as Other Things You Can Do With Your CVS Receipt; Asking Customer Service Reps What Their Most Expensive Item Is; and Absurdly Expensive Things Can You Buy on Ebay. Here’s a little something you should know about me: I love commerce. It’s kind of my jam. Buying things is the best, right? It’s just so good. My ideal vacation would be: me, anywhere, with an unlimited cash pile, an internet-connected device, and some of my favorite online retailers, just making purchase after purchase after purchase. I wouldn’t even use or enjoy most of the things I would buy. That part is irrelevant to me. I just love the thrill of the chase, and also the thrill of clicking “Yes, I am a returning customer.”

Check this out: Data recently released from the Dept. of Commerce shows the percentages of retail sold in stores versus online, and the even though it feels like online shopping has become this monolithic enterprise in the way we make our purchases, the truth is that people overwhelmingly still prefer buying their goods in person.

offline sales

So I’m seeing these figures and I thought it would be a fun idea to come up with some new ideas and strategies for online retailers to claim a bigger share of each market. But I also love shopping in person so I’ll come up with some strategies for brick-and-mortar stores to defend their turf, but I’ll try a little less hard on those ones because obviously I’m a homer for all online services; I’m not writing for Savings.inperson.

Food and alcohol

Strategies for online to break in

  • Lyft but with burritos
  • Uber but with better burritos
  • Uber X but for about the same quality of burritos as Lyft Burritos
  • What about taco trucks, but… online! Hmm. Actually I think this is just the same idea stated differently.

Strategies for brick-and-mortar stores to defend their territory

  • I dunno, I guess restaurants could just keep doing what they’re doing.
  • Grocery stores, too.
  • I think we can all agree selling food in person is a sound business model. Keep it up.

Drugs, health, beauty aids
Strategies for online to break in

  • Amazon recently teamed up with Procter & Gamble to sell more of their consumer products online, items such as Bounty paper towels and Pampers diapers, a move that has majorly upset Target enough to retaliate by giving P&G products less prominent shelf placement. So, good job, Amazon, keep looking for ways to partner with the big boys.

Strategies for brick-and-additionally-mortar stores

  • So, Target, you’re going to let Amazon just take your diapers and paper towels like that, huh? Ain’t you gonna stand up for yourself, son? What’chu gonna do about it, huh? Now everyone in the brandverse can see that you just a little punk, esse. If your big answer is just to hide your women, hide your children, then I think more than just paper towls and diapers are gonna be swiped up from you next. What would I recommend? I would recommend you start displaying large banners in all Target locations that call Amazon out directly. Something like “AMAZON IS A KNOWN TERRORIST SYMPATHIZER” to make people think that maybe buying things from Amazon instead of Target isn’t as good because you don’t want to inadvertently support terrorists. Go big, man. Show the people you aren’t afraid to get a little dirty to protect what’s yours.

Strategies for online to break in

  • Admittedly, online clothing boutiques, I think you guys are doing great. As a grown adult with specific taste, I tend to do most of my clothes shopping online these days. I particularly like JackThreads, if you’re wanting to dress like me, Grant, your favorite guest blogger. But let’s admit it — there’s still nothing like trying clothes on in the store, seeing how those clothes look in a mirror under unforgiving lighting, and mentally fussing back and forth on whether or not to actually make the purchase. The online experience hasn’t quite replicated that yet, although I do like when you get to upload a picture of yourself and “virtually try-on” some items like glasses from Warby Parker. What I’d like to see next is the ability to virtually try on a shirt, virtually pinch your belly fat, and virtually frown at yourself for about an hour.
  • Free idea: Ross Dress For Less Dot Com

Strategies for brick-and-an-adhesive-of-some-kind stores

  • For a little while in the late 90s/early 2000s, it did seem like Abercrombie & Fitch was onto something by making clothing stores smelly, dark, loud and basically uninhabitable for anyone over 17. It was a really aggressive way to push “cool” on impressionable teenagers who looked to gigantic posters of cheekboned-out WASPs as enviable aspirations. Thankfully, Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries has shown the long-term consequences of such practices right on his horrifying face as a kind of warning sign to anyone thinking of emulating their practices in any meaningful way. Note to all future generations: when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes back.


Computers, electronics
Strategies for online to break in

  • Maybe Amazon could sell this stuff. Oh they already do? Okay, we’re good.
  • Do they do any deals, like, you know how brick and mortar stores do Black Friday, maybe these guys could do, I dunno, I’m just spitballing here — a “Cyber” Monday? Does that sound ridiculous? Oh that also already exists? Okay. Should I delete what I already wrote where I was doing the spitballing? You’re right, let’s just move on.

Strategies for brick-and-mortar-is-necessary-to-hold-bricks-together stores

  • RadioShack, you guys could do a great Super Bowl commercial parodying how everyone thinks you belong in the 80s! Then you could close 1,100 stores because you are actually a relic from the 80s and that’s not a joke as much as it is a crushing reality.

Strategies for online to break in


Strategies for brick, some-mortar stores

  • Regular Ikea

Toys, sporting goods
Strategies for online to break in

  • Toys ‘R

Strategies for brick-and-if-you-have-it-laying-around- mortar stores

  • Regular Toys ‘R Us

Books, magazines, music, videos
Strategies for online to break in

  • Sorry, I don’t think text, music, or videos are ever going to really have a chance of “making it” in the online sphere. Good luck, though! I hope that works out for you.

Strategies for brick-then-mortar stores

  • If you’ve got money, honey, invest that into opening a Barnes & Noble right now. These places are the cornerstones of the future. Barnes & Noble, Tower Records, Media Play, Fry’s, these are the places where consumers are going to want to get their hands on as much physical media as they can. It’s a gold rush, people! Buy! Buy! Sell! Sell

Alright, gang, good job. I think we solved the economy. Well done!

Grant Pardee is a comedian originally from Ohio living in Los Angeles. He has performed at Bridgetown and SF Sketchfest, the Improv, Upright Citizens Brigade, and many other places, too. He contributes articles to VICE, and in 2013 the webseries he created, wrote and produced “Happy Place” was a finalist for the Comedy Central Short Pilot Competition at the New York Television Festival. Follow him on twitter @grantpa


Grant Pardee is a writer and comedian in Los Angeles. He contributes to VICE and Funny Or Die.

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