Online Shopping: The Downfall of Department Stores

Toys R’ Us closed department store in Sterling.  Photo from Dillon Holdridge

Photo by Dillon Holdridge

Toys R’ Us closed department store in Sterling. Photo from Dillon Holdridge

Written by Mia Cammarota, Dillon Holdridge, and Carissa Vergeres

In recent years, stores such as Sears, Target, and many other department stores have made an online store for their retailed products, and for a lot of them, it has caused more damage to their businesses than good.

Internet shopping has taken the world by storm, and because of this, more people are starting to do their shopping online instead of shopping in stores. This is forcing walk-in shops to close because of the growth of online shopping. Convenience of online shopping is one of the major factors of this phenomenon, resulting in many shops now taking the hit. With the massive transfiguration in the marketplace, this is a change in which hasn’t been witnessed until now.

Fortune’s website shows that in 2017 alone, there were more than 6,700 store closures due to an increase in online shopping. By the end of 2017, there were 6,985. These statistics show how fast the online market is growing and how much of an impact it is making on the walk-in store business. A major predator to the in store businesses is the online website, Amazon. It has practically every product from furniture, to clothes, and recently food.

“While shopping online, I can see pictures, I can compare products; usually I can get everything I need on Amazon,” says Eric Stewart, principal of Harmony Middle School.

In 2014, 47 percent of Americans preferred shopping online, but over the years, this has changed to an increase of 51 percent, while the remaining 49 percent would rather go to a store. Amazon’s increasing revenue is making other stores compete for consumers in recent years, especially the holiday season. Walmart is one of many stores that are feeling the pressure of Amazon’s success. A course of action they are taking is that Walmart will now be opening on “Cyber Sunday” instead of the traditional Cyber Monday. Walmart is not the
only store doing something about the increasing Amazon sales, Kohls is also opening its stores for 170 hours leading up to Christmas Eve in order to have more customers come and shop.

“Online shopping is becoming a way of life,” says Economics teacher Mr. Bullion. “The convenience of being able to be in your bed and shop at the same time has taken people’s attention.”

Christmas time at the Dulles Town Center. Photo from Creative Commons

Nowadays, most people rely on convenience and like the idea of not going anywhere to get the things they need. The concept that you don’t have to take a single step to visit several stores appeals to society. On the contrary it’s favorable to be able to try on the clothes, that you like, while in stores. This is where online shopping turns some people away because the process of returning can be too much work. After ordering a product, waiting for it, deciding it’s not what you want, returning it, and waiting for the right product, it ends up being a longer process than trying on clothes in stores.

“I like shopping in stores because I can try on the shoes or whatever it is I am buying – that is a big factor for me,” says Mrs. Theresa Hoover, “I don’t like having to return clothes if they don’t fit, it is an inconvenience.”