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As technology takes over of our lives, everything from the way we rent movies to the way we read has changed. Newspapers are going out of business. News magazines are dated by the time they hit the news stand. Movies are downloaded or streamed in a flash without ever leaving home, and smart phones do everything from communicate, to entertain, to direct, to take pictures. This week’s fall of book giant, Borders, can’t help but make people wonder if the Internet will kill the store front.
Even Wal-mart Has a New Threat
Wal-mart has long been the bad guy when it comes to killing businesses, but even the discount giant can’t compete with many online stores that sell refurbished products that are more progressive than anything you’ll find in the big chain’s technology department. Shipping is fast, and often free, so the streamlining of business via the Internet is great for the consumer, but not so great for the brick and mortar stores.
The People Experience
No matter how much technology drives up the cost of doing main street business, the human experience will always keep a few good companies around. For example, Wal-mart allows consumers to buy products online and then pick them up at the closest store front. If it has to be shipped there, an estimated delivery date is given, and consumer saves on shipping costs. Many clothing stores are using this marketing technique, too.
Many technical brands, like Dell, actually built their business on online sales. They allowed people to build their own computers, to suit, have them shipped, and then schedule a technician to visit their home and set it all up. The key is convenience and customer service. Marketing innovation will save the human experience.