Online shoppers want to pick up their stuff at a store where they can take it back if it goes bad

Interesting bit in the NY Times about how the growth in online sales is leveling off, and even being replaced by a new spending paradigm.  Viz:

….online sellers have been steadily raising their shipping fees to bolster profits or make up for their low prices.

response, a so-called clicks-and-bricks hybrid model is emerging, said
Dan Whaley, the founder of GetThere, which became one of the largest
Internet travel businesses after it was acquired by Sabre Holdings.

bookseller Borders, for example, recently revamped its Web site to
allow users to reserve books online and pick them up in the store.
Similar services were started by companies like Best Buy and Sears. Other retailers are working to follow suit.

don’t realize how powerful of a phenomenon this new strategy has
become,” Mr. Whaley said. “Nearly every big box retailer is opening it

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why this is becoming more and more popular. Having experienced the frustrations and incomprehensible delays attendant to buying just about anything online (as well as problems with delivery to the wrong address, having items pilfered, etc.), shopping at home for the best bargain, and then going to a traditional brick&mortar shop so as to be able to pick up and handle the item before plunking down cash, is an experience worth paying a bit more for.

Dunno how much more.  But if the store is a place like the Apple stores (name-checked in the NY Times piece, above), then you’ve done what all the creepy buzzwordeers spasm over: “It’s not just shopping – it’s an experience.”

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