All is Not Lost for Brick and Mortar in the Digital Age of Shopping

A couple of years ago, I ventured out on Black Friday to find uncrowded stores, likely due to technology and the shift in the way consumers buy products. And last year on Thanksgiving night, I decided to switch it up a bit and opted to shop online. This year, I convinced my husband to head out with me, because experiencing the madness of long-lines, or lack thereof, can be boring when you’re alone.

For our adventure, we attempted to use technology to our advantage. We reserved a popular dollhouse a few days in advance, thinking that we wouldn’t have to wait in a long line. The dollhouse is allegedly on most holiday lists this year, so by booking it early we would walk right up to the online pickup area and retrieve the product. However, a few hours before we left, I received an email saying the order could no longer be fulfilled. Needless to say, we decided we should still give it a shot, and maybe, just maybe, they would have some of what we wanted in stock.

When we arrived, we walked through the store and lo and behold, there it was — 4 dollhouses — exactly like the one we wanted to purchase, stacked up in the center of the store. I thought to myself, was the inability to fulfill our order a ploy to get more people to the store? If it was, it worked on us! We ended up buying other things we definitely didn’t need, and waited in a line that was nearly the length of the building (not kidding).

Over that weekend, I attempted to reserve something else online, from a different store. The next day, I received a note saying the order was being cancelled due to it no longer being in stock. I couldn’t believe it. I ended up getting in my car, driving to the store, and once again, found what I needed — and this time, it was the only one left (not kidding).

Two different stores, two different coincidences? I think not. But it is interesting, whether the retailers meant for this to happen or not, that the notifications got me back into their stores.

Heading out to the shops this holiday season may sometimes be the best option, though I’m sure there will be stints when I make purchases from the comforts of my home. With the digital age and holidays upon us, it’s clear that all is not lost for brick and mortar.

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