Online retailers, particularly Amazon.com, Inc. and Ebay, Inc., have proven the viability of the internet as a retail channel. But the traditional brick-and-mortar retailers have the ability and will to eventually become powerful players in the markets that the online retailers have largely developed.
The office supply and auto parts sectors are among the furthest along in the integration of physical stores and online capabilities. They have a large number of stores and potentially the most advanced and efficient delivery networks and integrated web sites.
Internet sales, while continuing to grow rapidly, still represent only a mid-single-digit percentage of total US retail sales, a number that includes the internet operations of the brick-and-mortar retailers. Many consumers have not yet made meaningful online purchases, and some potentially never will. Smartphones, which are key to the concept of “showrooming,” are still not optimally used or penetrated.
Most brick-and-mortar retailers already have fully developed proprietary supply chains that could be further leveraged to accommodate online sales.
The sales-tax advantage that many online retailers presently enjoy seems to be abating as states step up their efforts to force collection of these taxes.
See the full report ($) US Retail: Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Beginning to Flex Muscle Online
Brick-and-mortar retailers, especially on the big box side, already have internet capability, and in some segments such as office products, have been using the web for over a decade.
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