Is e-commerce really killing brick and mortar retail?

eCommerce has been growing for quite a while now and its immense growth has had an effect on a lot of industries. And like most would expect it has also affected brick and mortar stores. Moreover, the COVID-19 Pandemic has further highlighted eCommerce’s importance, and many people who didn’t know about eCommerce or weren’t much affiliated with it have now become quite familiar with it and accustomed to some extent with how convenient eCommerce can prove nonetheless. This raises the question that Is e-commerce really killing brick and mortar retail?. So let’s dive right into answering just that

A picture of ecommerce to better answer Will ecommerce replace physical stores?

Well, the simple answer is “No” or at least not for now, they might end up evolving. But the experience they offer is still yet to be matched by eCommerce, which is why many people can easily predict, that as soon as this ongoing Pandemic is over, people will rush themselves again to their favorite brick and mortar retail stores for some long-pending look to the goods they love. Without further ado, lets dive into the reasons why brick and mortar stores are not going to be dying anytime soon

Is e-commerce really killing brick and mortar retail?

The experience

More than buying the product, we go to retail stores for the experience of buying the product, it be a new purse or just groceries. Many of us while shopping just wants to walk through different products, try some of them on, smell them, touch them feel them, and then decide if they are actually what we want. And then and are we truly satisfied with our purchase. Moreover, while coming back from the shop, you could get your favorite cookie, and carry out some other errands. And then be on your way. So, this is one of the main reasons why retail stores are not going to completely vanish anywhere in the near future.


Well, let’s just say, you are travelling on your car and on your way to a party. You realize that your shoes don’t actually suit the occasion and are torn up. And it’d be better if you bought some better looking shoes. So, you decide to stop in a shoe shop and buy yourself a new set of shoes and be on your way. Well, this obviously wouldn’t have happened if there were no retail stores. Which would rather have been an inconvenience as if there were no retail store, you would not be able to get the products you need on the get-go and in urgency as eCommerce takes time. So, the complete annihilation of retail stores will be an inconvenience and hence probably won’t ever happen

Transaction utility/ satisfaction

A picture of utility to better answer Will ecommerce replace physical stores?

This is an economic term that basically refers to buying products not because you need them. But rather because of the joy the purchase brings the buyer. Clicking on a few pictures you like just does not give the same satisfaction and most of the people who buy online buy when they have a need to buy the product. But this is not always the case in retail shopping. And people sometimes buy on retail just for the heck of it

So, though eCommerce might be seeing a boom and digital marketing has nonetheless become a very important part of any business that actually wishes to operate. But, even in this age of booming eCommerce, when eCommerce share of retail sales worldwide stands at nearly 10% ( this is a stat before the COVID-19 Pandemic, of course ) and is going up every coming year as awareness and trust in the online businesses is still an ongoing process so, this number will further rise. But this in no way means that it’d eventually mean the end of retail stores.

Shipping Problems

A picture of a ship to better answer "Is e-commerce really killing brick and mortar retail?"
A picture of shipping

This is one of the most annoying things about eCommerce. And without a doubt one of its biggest cons. Shipments are often delayed which has left many people disappointed in eCommerce. And if there is a problem. this would lead you to be on long phone calls explaining to them how you were wrongly treated. Furthermore, weather conditions like snowstorms also become a differentiating factor. And if you want to ship the product more immediately, you would have to pay even more money.

No product disappointment

As you know exactly what product you are buying, You will get the exact same product, you can see it getting packed and then handed to you. And normally there wouldn’t be any further problems. But when you do eCommerce, you sometimes get a different product then what you order. And that saying that’s disappointing is an understatement. So, you need to be sure of the platform you are buying off of and what kind of policies they have.

AR and VR

A picture of AR being used to better answer "Is e-commerce really killing brick and mortar retail?"

Well, many online stores are now using AR to give a better view of how the product will actually look. So, you can check it on various places at your home to see where it suits best so, you know exactly what you will be buying. But, this too has not truly replaced the overall ” going out and checking it for yourself” experience. As you still can’t touch and feel the product. Another important thing to remember is that when see, touch, and feel a product, it also develops a sentimental value. Which is obviously not the case in eCommerce.

Many eCommerce shops; however, offer a 3 D photo of their products so you feel more comfortable. As you would be able to look at all the sides and see all the aspects of the products. Forbes has also written a great article on a related topic so do check it out if that interests you

Some stats about Covid-19, eCommerce and retail stores ( The Present Times )

Increase in the overall Sales of Baby Products

Since the Pandemic has started, people have pertained to the act of social distancing and tried to refrain from unnecessarily moving around. However, this doesn’t mean that the basic needs of the people will just go away and more so for the babies. As people can’ themselves don’t feel comfortable right now to go outside, and there are things that they need to buy when it comes to raising a little one, for instance, its pampers and other hygiene products that a little one requires. So, people in these troubling time referred themselves to ordering these necessities online which has lead to a 237% week-over-week increase and a whopping 1,197% month-over-month, as of March 30, 2020.

Food and Beverage Online orders have also seen a recent increase

What makes watching Netflix better if it isn’t for a snack. Many people whilst relaxing just quadruple the amount of fun they are having buy gulping down their favorite snack. And as people have recently found themselves with quite a lot of free time on their hand, which has lead to people wanting more snacks. And as they don’t want to order snacks online, they just order them online now. To elaboratefood and beverage eCommerce is up almost 26% MoM and 20% WoW

The Online demand for Electronics, Jewelry and Apparels are all down

As people don’t go outside as often as they used to, they have started caring less about things like Jewelry and apparel which came with a big purpose of leaving a good impression and look good. As people stay home, they have just started caring less for this stuff and feel more comfortable just being more comfortable

Down below is a recent specific stat regarding the influx of traffic in eCommerce only in the United States

A 40% increase in eCommerce revenue has been recorded in U.S.A in this state of emergency- Listrak

There are considerably more delays in shipping stuff as there were before
A picture of COvid-19 to better elaborate "Ecommerce and the CoronaVirus (Covid-19)"

Many countries and companies have started prioritizing the basic need’ products over purchases like clothes. And some other stuff that is not considered as important especially whilst this world-wide Pandemic is going on. For instance, Amazon declared on March 23 that it would be prioritizing shipments of medical supplies and household staples to its warehouses. But many niche stores are still offering their services and trying to reach their customers on time

A big increase in buying Groceries online

In a recent survey, it was found that nearly 51% of the people giving the survey had used online pickup or delivery services for their grocery needs in the past seven days. Moreover, 41% of those were using that service for the first time.

Raise of online sales of Coronvirus related products

Unfortunately, many people are using this panicked state fo people for false advertisement. Some even falsely advertise some of the stuff they are selling as medicine for curing the Coronavirus. Sounds sketchy and weird right! But this has managed to fool quite a lot of people till now. But now people are becoming more and more informed and more observant of these false advertisements

2 in 5 UK shoppers say they will make more online purchases after lockdown ends

As many people were introduced to the comfort of online buying, they have realized how easy and undemanding this is then going to a retail store. Physically looking up products, asking questions, wasting time that could have been spent doing some better stuff and then driving or walking back home for the store that you went to. As the lockdown has forced many people to know that there is a thing like eCommerce that exists out there. Many people are impressed by the things and benefits of doing things the online way. And this has lead to many people being convinced to keep doing the stuff the way they are doing during the Pandemic even after the COVID- 19 Pandemic is over

Traditional chain stores in the US and Canada have seen an 80% year-on-year rise in online sales in April 2020

This was an expected turn of events. But an 80% increase is still higher is still without a doubt a big leap. To further elaborate on this stat, here is another stat:

 Covid-19 Retail Trends report, the number of first-time purchases placed through the eCommerce sites belonging to traditional chain stores grew by a whopping 119% compared to April last year.-  Bluecore


Now that we have looked into some of the things that are considered as pros of brick and mortar stores as well as the current situation of COVID-19 and how it has affected the eCommerce & brick and mortar stores altogether. And though, you might be thinking that even when the pandemic is over, it’d have an effect on brick and mortar stores. Well, even before the worldwide Pandemic there were a lot of retail stores that had closed themselves out due to shifting entirely to the eCommerce model or due to lack in sales due to it. So this question is not something new and has been around for quite a while now

Despite all the talk about why retail commerce will not die and listing the cons of eCommerce. It is also important to note that eCommerce is going to be a big part of our future. And there will obviously be some more advancements in eCommerce as its awareness and the potential market develops.

As eCommerce also has a good share of pros that cannot be forgotten like convenience, low cost, and getting any product from literally anywhere you wish. So, what will future’s retail look like if both of them are such great models and have some great pros

Well to answer that, we like many other people think that it will probably just be mixture of both. Ecommerce will develop and become more convenient. But will never fully replace retail commerce as it has a completely different kind of utility. Hope this article was helpful if you want to know what a google spider is and how it works we wrote an article on just that so go check it out too. And if you have any related questions feel free to use the comment section below