The beginning of the end for old school big box?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by G51989, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. G51989 macrumors 68030


    Feb 25, 2012
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA

    And I think this is exactly why.

    Why go to a K-Mart, Wal-Mart, or a Target? When you can buy all the same bulk stuff online, for less money? And have it delivered to your door? Less thinking, less time, less cost.

    Even Wal Mart and Target seem to be understanding that the day of the big box is very limited.

    Big boxes won't be able to match a good supermarket in food selection and quality, nor could they match a large store like Lowes in the hardware department.

    So, for me. I don't live in Suburbia, so it seems like its not worth driving out to Suburbia to go shopping?

    Do you think online retailing combined with smaller more local stores is going to kill off the big box at any point?

    I mean, they once said that chains like Sears or Hills, Kmart and Montgomery Ward wouldn't go anywhere.

    Now, I don't shop at any Big Box stores, they don't have what I want. But for those of you who do.

    Would a combination of cheaper prices online for non perishables combined with the smaller stores and supermarkets for everything else kill your need to shop at a big Box?
  2. iBlazed macrumors 68000


    Feb 27, 2014
    New Jersey, United States
    I just hope the "smaller and more local" stores are mom and pop shops. If they're just part of a major nationwide chain then it's not much more of a benefit to the country than Walmart, for example, is.

    As for your question, I would definitely prefer this format. It would certainly be great for the many vacant spots in mini-mall plazas that many areas have.
  3. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    Are people really going to buy toothpaste and floss; shampoo and tampons online?

    Does it make macro-economic sense to ship electric rice-cookers one-at-a-time from an Amazon warehouse to my house, rather than palletized to a Target, and then home in my car?

    I think a lot of the "doom and gloom" discussion regarding retail overlooks an important factor in people's decision to go to a bricks-and-mortar store: Shopping is a form of social life. In fact, in our over-scheduled, over Facebooked world, strolling up and down the aisles at the supermarket or Target is often times our only non-work interaction with strangers. And that is still worth something.

    These days the FedEx or UPS guy doesn't even stop long enough to say "hello." (And I don't think Amazon's delivery drones are going to be any more personable..)

    At least the cashier at Target or Best Buy says "have a nice day."
  4. samiwas macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    I much prefer to go actually look at items in a store. You can only tell so much by looking at tiny pictures online and reading often-misleading or simply wrong specs. Hell, I've been PC shopping recently, and it floors me how hard it can be to simply find out the resolution of many of their screens.
  5. Technarchy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2012
    I'm joining Dollar Shave Club next month. I think there is market for buying of this type. Those consistent monthly purchases for hygiene that are necessary but tedious and easily and equally served with an online subscription service.
  6. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    Would you buy toilet paper online?

    It seems to meet your criteria: a consistent monthly purchase of a toiletry. And once you settle on a brand, you don't need to handle the merchandise (no Squeezing the Charmin required.) Toilet paper also has an all but infinite shelf life.

    But like many such products, it probably won't be sold online for a couple of reasons. The most important of which is that its shipping characteristics (in this case its very low "cube" or shipping weight/value to volume) make it impractical. If toilet paper were sold online, every UPS and FedEx truck you saw would be filled to capacity with household packs of the stuff.
  7. swiftaw macrumors 603


    Jan 31, 2005
    Omaha, NE, USA
  8. lannister80 macrumors 6502


    Apr 7, 2009
    Yup, I order it on Amazon about every 6 weeks, cheapest I can find Angelsoft. And it comes right to my door!

    $21.94 for 48 double-rolls with free shipping if I pad my order to over $35 (I always need something from Amazon).
  9. D.T. macrumors G3


    Sep 15, 2011
    Vilano Beach, FL
  10. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    But do you buy it? Do many people buy it?

    There is a difference between a loss-leader or headlight item, designed to bring visibility or publicity, to an online business. And a product for which there is a real, viable business.

    Online toilet paper could be a Godsend for the housebound, people who for whatever reason aren't able to physically get to the store.

    But I question even if free shipping is enough of an incentive for average consumers. Do I really want to have to pick a carton of toilet paper off my front step? Or retrieve it from a neighbor? Or (worse) wait around all day for the delivery guy?
  11. G51989 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Feb 25, 2012
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    Lots of people already do, including myself for non perishables, its A LOT cheaper than a Wal Mart, Target or even a Costco. And much more convenient.

    This isn't about killing brick and mortar stores, its about the fact that smaller stores, weather they be local owned, or chains like Dollar General or Family Dollar, with online retail are starting to chew away at the stereotypical suburban shopping mall Big Box Store

    A chain like Lowes or Home Depot or any specialty and warehouse stores for example doesn't really need to worry about this as much as a Target, K Mart or Wal Mart

    Assuming I wanted something as generic as a rice cooker, and I didn't feel like driving 20 minutes each way through traffic to a Target and I didn't need it today, I would order it online. Saves me a trip.

    I normally only shop at stores these days if its a specialist store, or a good supermarket, or the Costco I go to.

    Lets use a Wal Mart super center, I won't buy any food there, or any electronics there, or any clothes there, because they don't have what I want.

    The only things I would buy there are big bulk things like crapper paper, paper towels, cleaning materials sponges, dish soap, shampoo, stuff like that. Because its delivered right to my door, and its cheaper than a big box store.

    I still go to a place like Costco here and there, I still go to the local supermarket, still go to the butcher, the local hardware stores, and farmers markets.

    For me, a Target or Wal Mart has nothing to offer me.

    The only big stores I really go to these days are best buys and big hardware stores. And appliance stores
  12. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2014
    For suburban and city areas, online shopping can often be better. But for remote areas, a huge big box store that sells everything can be a real blessing. Lots of times you need something right away, so online shopping is out. It isn't always profitable for smaller stores to open in remote locations, so there usually isn't much chocie. A one stop shopping center is the best option.
  13. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003

    I buy tons of recurring household crap from Amazon like toilet paper, paper towels, razors and cleaning supplies. Can't say I miss my weekly treks to Target.

    And if my small condo (18 townhouses) is any indication, most of my neighbors do too, especially the ones with babies for diapers and such.
  14. tgara macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2012
    Connecticut, USA
    Seriously, does anyone really view shopping as a form of social interaction? Maybe for teenagers hanging out at the mall (and for SOME people hanging out on this PRSI forum -- you know who you are!), but not for normal adults.

    Personally, I don't like going to a store to buy things. You've got to drive there on crowded roads filled with dipstick drivers, then you've got to find a place to park (and in some cases pay for parking), then you have to find all the stuff you want while dodging other shoppers (some with screaming kids in STROLLERS!), then wait FOREVER in the checkout line because they don't EVER have enough checkers, then schlep all the stuff home in the same crummy traffic you came in on. In other threads, folks have posted their experiences at Costco on a busy day. It's a nightmare.

    I do online shopping when I can because frankly I don't want to put up with the hassle of brick and mortar retail shopping when I can avoid it. Sure, I'll go to our local Whole Foods every week to get groceries, or to the local wine merchant to pick up a case of merlot. But I think twice about going to Target, Home Depot, or Costco, especially on a Saturday morning.
  15. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    Ehhh, I don't know if you can still say shopping at Wal-Mart is sociable. Nowadays they keep two lanes open, and the rest are the self-checkout machines. Meanwhile at Sam's, you have a guy at the door serving you coffee and dessert in the morning, people who are actually walking around the store to assist you, and all the lanes actually have people waiting to ring you up.

    Target is similar, and I prefer them to Wal-Mart for that reason.

    But I do most of my shopping at CVS because it's smaller, cleaner, and you get nice coupons with the ExtraCare card.

    We used to shop at dollar stores in the early 90's. After awhile you soon realize that your money is better spent elsewhere.

    I buy some stuff on Amazon. There's nothing wrong with that! I like that they have bigger packages of some things you'd otherwise have to buy three times to match, and I like that they have some products you can't find at most stores.

    I don't buy toilet paper online, but I absolutely hate walking out of the store carrying it.
  16. vulcanvillalta macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2014
    I buy most everything on amazon. And, OP, thanks for the critique of social experience being on facebook, This is not completely true. Yes, some people spend a lot of time on there, but as for me, I read books and spend time with my wife at home. We would rather be home than being stressed at an understocked store. Buy on amazon a few days before you need it. It takes literally two minutes. No driving to the store, nor shopping around. It makes perfect sense to me. If other stores want my business, they should compete with their competition.
  17. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    I think we need to be very careful of over-generalizing based on our own experiences and beliefs. And I'm not sure a tech-savvy crowd like MR forum members truly is representative of the majority of the American buying public.

    Are there inevitably going to be changes in the way America shops? Of course there are.

    But I'd not be too certain that Amazon is going to put everyone else out of business. At some point they are going to have to make money from their business. Even Wal-Mart, cost-cutter extraordinaire makes a profit.
  18. capathy21 macrumors 65816


    Jun 16, 2014
    Houston, Texas
    In my area, Walmart is opening up two of their "neighborhood" stores which, as I understand it, are grocery only locations meant to feel like a smaller grocery store. In both cases, they are opening them right across the street from a local grocery store that has been here for over 40 years.

    Walmart has done this to mom and pop businesses for years with their full sized "super center" locations. Now it appears they are doing it even with their smaller neighborhood stores.
  19. localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World
    Despite living in a backwoods Podunk, there's been a half-dozen dollar stores open up within a few air miles of my home recently. They carry a good bit of absurdly cheap junk but they do handle a pretty good selection of name brand toothpaste, floss, shampoo, toiletries, over counter medications, and a decent selection of basic cooking items like spices, sugar, oils, etc. I find myself shopping at the dollar stores largely anymore, because I usually always pass by one when I'm out and about. I can park right in front of the store, and get in and out of the store with the few items I need in just a few minutes. If I go to Walmart or other mass merchandiser store I usually have to fight traffic and then never seem to find even remotely close parking to the store despite having a handicapped tag, and then I end up waiting in line for 15 minutes or more because the Ass't Manager has decided to shut down all the self-checkout-out lanes.

    The dollar stores are convenient as hell -- it's no wonder that the dollar stores are whittling away Walmart's market.

    About the same for me. I occasionally shop at Staples, but I mostly order office supplies online anymore; much of the electronics/technology items I use are rather specialized and aren't stocked locally, so I order those online as well. I can't remember the last time I was in a Walmart...

    Years ago, I'd get to know the regular workers I'd see at the mass merchandisers like Montgomery Wards, Sears, Hills, etc. but now days the employees at Walmart don't seem to hang around long enough to get to know them.

    These days, the poor Walmart cashiers are so busy trying to deal with 20 people in line, with loaded down buggies, that they give you a deer-in-headlights look if you even speak to them. I'd swear some of them are animatronic robots...
  20. hulugu macrumors 68000


    Aug 13, 2003
    quae tangit perit Trump
    I do something similar with several items through Amazon on a subscription basis. For some items, it works really well.

    I get groceries at community-supported agriculture co-op and the university farm (the meat is awesome), with other stuff from a Whole Foods clone (but way cheaper). Other stuff is picked up at CostCo.

    Really, I only go to Target for the random item we suddenly need and to wander the toy aisle with the kid.
  21. TheHateMachine, Jul 30, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2014

    TheHateMachine macrumors 6502a


    Sep 18, 2012
    Santa Fe, TX
    Off topic but instead of joining DSC you could do two things...

    1) Go around DSC and buy directly from Doroco. They are the suppliers for DSC. You can shave a couple of bucks off and buy in bulk instead of getting a package every month.

    2) Migrate to a safety razor. I recently bought a safety razor, an apothecary mug and a boar bristle brush. The shaving pucks/soaps can last from 3-8 months depending on what they are made of and are cheap. After the initial small investment for the metal razor it becomes very cheap as the blades you buy for the razor are about .50 per razor blade and are double sided. Plus there is typically zero plastic waste. Each side is good for about 5 uses, but you could probably stretch em even further. Last point being that it turns something mundane into somewhat of a hobby and if you are feeling adventurous you could eventually step up to a straight razor.

    Back on topic, Best Buy is trimming down their stores as well. They are trying to tool their stores to focus on phone, tablet/pc and tvs and just cut out all the other stuff. There is a store near me that is huge but they trimmed it down to a generic phone area, a samsung kiosk with tablets/phones/pcs, an apple kiosk with tables/phones/pcs and lastly a spot for flat panels and sound systems. The music, movies, appliance and video game area were all cleared out and closed off. Honestly when you typicaly go to a Best Buy around here, all the people tend to be consolidated in those areas anyways.

    Amazon makes a profit, they just account for that and reinvest 100% of that profit in their warehouse expansion system. Part of the reason that the stock is liked so much. They are still in turbo growth mode and only looking towards the future. The potential for the stock upside and future profits is very high. However some of these investors lately are getting tired and just want their distribution. The "I want it now regardless..." types.
  22. G51989 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Feb 25, 2012
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    If you want super long term, just buy a very nice electric, thats what I did, way less messy and shaves nearly as good.
  23. heehee macrumors 68020


    Jul 31, 2006
    Same country as Santa Claus
    For those of you who buy household items online, where do you deliver them to? When I buy online, I deliver them to the office, but I don't want my toilet paper deliver to the office when I'm not home to accept the item. :eek:
  24. Renzatic Suspended


    Aug 3, 2011
    Gramps, what the hell am I paying you for?
    Eh. I've never taken to electric razors. They', I guess. Good for a pinch, but I've never been able to get a baby smooth shave using one like I would even with disposable razors.

    To this day, I still want to learn how to properly use a straight razor. They last forever, they're easy to sharpen, and they give you a shave like no other. The only downside is that all it takes is one sneeze or slip up, and you're dead.

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