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Brick and mortar stores can not compete

Photo credit: Briana Mcdaniel

Certain products and technologies throughout history have completely revolutionized the market. The printing press vastly changed the process of dissemination of information, the marine chronometer greatly advanced sea navigation and the telephone launched communication speeds forward.

Online stores, specifically Amazon, have similarly transformed the sale of goods. Amazon’s catalog of almost 500 million items in the U.S., along with its competitive pricing and shipping deals, have made it a dominant e-commerce website.

In the future, Amazon or some similar entity will completely wipe out the need for local business and traditional storefronts.

The destruction of physical retail stores has already begun. In 2016, more than 1,000 major retail locations were closed by various companies. In that same time, Amazon saw revenue increase by 29 percent.

This isn’t a coincidence. Online sales are growing rapidly and are quickly crushing the revenue that brick-and-mortar stores need to survive.

In the next half-century, online sales will have completely wiped out the need for physical retail stores. Technological advancements in both the online realm and in delivery services will help catapult online shopping into dominance.

On the shopper side, the future of technology will allow for more intuitive online shopping experiences.

Companies have already begun producing ways for consumers to shop smarter at home. Technological advances such as trying on clothes virtually, in-depth customer reviews and augmented reality shopping experiences will soon make online shopping just as intuitive as real world shopping.

Shipping technologies will also progress in the future, to the point that shipping times will almost be negligible.

Driverless cars and the automation of storage factories will soon become commonplace for online retailers, greatly reducing shipment times and further incentivizing customers to shop online.

Amazon started this process of automating many of its warehouses. Robots can get packages onto shipping containers significantly faster than humans. This sort of automation can be applied to every facet of package delivery once the technology has been developed, greatly reducing delivery times.

Not even considering future delivery technology, such as drones or transporters (fingers crossed), severely shortened delivery times and will push the need for physical retailers even further away.

The continual progression of technology is going to take over and revolutionize how most of the society works in the next few decades, and retail shopping certainly isn’t safe.

The good news is that these changes will benefit consumers through more competitive markets, a wider array of choices and a more helpful shopping experience.

The bad news is that the closing of more and more brick-and-mortar stores will cause many jobs to be lost.

Looking further ahead, however, new technologies always bring about new jobs and new growth. While there may be growing pains in the meantime, the future is still bright.

Take advantage of free Amazon Prime for college students and hop on the wave of the future.

Evan Roberts can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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