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Last week we asked if you’re planning to buy the new Microsoft Surface. Surprisingly, the results did not indicate either a negative nor positive trend, so if someone in Microsoft is listening, the Surface might make it after all!

Out of 564 votes in total, the results were as follows: 28% want to buy the new Surface and think it’s awesome, 25.5% think it looks cool but want to see it first, another 25.5% won’t buy it no matter what, 17.5% think it looks great but do not like the rumored prices, and 3.5% haven’t even heard of the Surface.

Full results and this week’s poll after the jump.

poll-results-july-7

This week’s poll question is: Are Brick & Mortar Stores Doomed?

The recent release of Amazon’s augmented reality app for Android got me thinking again about the future of brick and mortar stores. In a world where Amazon and friends have everything we might want only a click away, and with the ability to enter any store and immediately find out Amazon’s prices while there, some might think real stores are slowly becoming obsolete. This is not a simple matter, as many people rely on these stores for their livelihood, and the online store’s convenience is harming their income directly. On the other hand, every store owner with an eye on the future has already opened an online store as well, with the ability to order the same products without leaving the house. So what is the future of brick and mortar stores? Will they stay around or slowly disappear?

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Don’t forget to share in the comments the reasons behind your vote, and of course, to tell us exactly what you think if you chose “Other”.

  1. slywlf
    July 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    I think there will always be a need for 'brick and mortar' stores, though the vast majority may go totally online. For example, I cannot buy shoes online - I absolutely must try them on before I buy. Most clothes likewise must be tried on before I am willing to spend my money. Also I prefer to choose my own produce and meats - I do not use 'convenience foods' AKA 'food-like products' - so quality is vital, and I'm not at all sure I would trust a stranger to choose the best avocados or tuna steak for me! As for books, electronics and things like hardware and lumber - I can see them mostly going totally online, though, honestly, like with my avocados, I really prefer to pick my own lumber rather than risk delivery of pretzels I have to send back and hold up my project.

    • Yaara Lancet
      July 11, 2012 at 6:08 am

      Good points. Although I wouldn't be surprised if pretty soon they'll come up with a way for you to try things on or choose yourself, and still do it online.

  2. Steve
    July 9, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    It's the Government and regulations that are causing the problems. Because of this the stores don't stock very much and never seem to have what I'm looking for. I usually look on the internet to find what I want, read and research it, but when I decide what I want and walk into a brick-and-morter store, they don't have it.

    • Yaara Lancet
      July 10, 2012 at 8:04 am

      Yes, that happens to me a lot to. You have your mind set on a specific model you found online, but then finding it in an actual store turns out to be impossible.

      • slywlf
        July 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm

        Happily I have found that usually if the item is available online you can order it and they will ship it to the store for pickup without charge, whereas there is a charge to have it shipped to your home. I have found Ace Hardware very handy for that, if the item is something I can wait a week for anyway ;-)

        • Yaara Lancet
          July 11, 2012 at 6:04 am

          With large stores like Ace it usually works, but not always with smaller stores.

          I don't know, there's something frustrating about seeing it online "right there", and then it's not really available! But it's all in the head, you have to wait for it either way. :)

  3. John R
    July 9, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    In the 80's 90's before internet commerce Camera were tried in the store but you bought them mail order from the New york shops. I see the same happening with electronics. But other commodities No! Lets say Home Depot or your local grocery was to stock 50% of it's inventory on-line. Now lets have an earthquake, hurricane, tornado etc and try ordering your needs from the internet. Not going to happen. There will always be a B&M store needed. For those non-necessities like personal electronics,software, booksetc.. They may be the only way to buy them in the future. And the warehouses will be offshore to add insult to injury.

    • Yaara Lancet
      July 10, 2012 at 8:03 am

      Nice point about earthquakes. :)

  4. John Smith
    July 9, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Why would I buy something from Amazon and wait 3 - 10 days for delivery, if I can get it at the same price locally and get it now? Amazon is going to go the way of the dinosaur because of their deal with the states to collect taxes.

    • Yaara Lancet
      July 10, 2012 at 8:00 am

      I think it depends on where you live. If you're in the US and have Amazon Prime, you can have whatever you order within 2 days, for a good price. Some people may find that better than the alternatives.

      As long as it's just in the US, though, it's not going to take over the world. :)

  5. Joel Lee
    July 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    There will always be a need and desire for physical stores. Some products make more sense to be sold online (books, small electronics, etc.) and they can be completely phased out of physical stores because you can learn all about these products online (no need for hands-on testing).

    But things like clothing, food, instruments, etc. will always have a place in a physical store. How can you test and guarantee freshness over a webpage? How can you test fit on clothing (even if you have the measurements, it's sketchy)? You'll never know if a guitar feels good in your hands until you actually hold it.

    • Yaara Lancet
      July 10, 2012 at 7:57 am

      I generally agree, but we're already seeing lots of online purchases for things like clothes, shoes and food. It's not the majority by any means, but it's possible and it's done. They come up with better ways to figure out your clothes or shoe size all the time, so it's getting more and more possible. And I know several people who order food from the local supermarket online to have it delivered to their doorstep.

  6. Susendeep Dutta
    July 9, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Brick and Mortar stores are very much necessary as they are the place where one can get a real hands-on experience of the products they wish to have.Moreover,many things are not found online and when some stuff goes out of stock,we have to wait for long to get it.If someone is not so well versed with technology,mortar stores are good as they will get demo of it too.

    Their needs become more prominent when,for example,when someone needs to put up screen protector on their screens or to cut normal SIM to micro SIM.These online stores can never provide such facilities.

    • Tony Alexander
      July 9, 2012 at 11:45 am

      I agree with you. Real stores are here to stay. Even if online stores are increasing, they cannot completely replace real stores.

    • Yaara Lancet
      July 10, 2012 at 7:54 am

      These are great examples. Sometimes you need a person to help you perform some action related to your product, and that can't be done online.

  7. Emmanuel Fulton
    July 9, 2012 at 4:51 am

    Opps forgot to put my name. Emmanuel

  8. Emmanuel Fulton
    July 9, 2012 at 4:50 am

    I would absolutely say yes the physical brick and mortar stores will continue to decline due to increasing online store stores and more and more people are shopping and buying online than a decade ago. I predict in the future all digital media including games, movies, music, software/apps, photos, videos, books, magazines, newspapers will be 100 % digital download distribution. It’s all ready happening now. I predict in the future standalone video game console will become obsolete because I see a future of total integration. Smart TV’s are one the market and I see video games moving more towards mobile platforms like tablets and smartphones. I see the same concept with mobile device’s like the ipad to be applied to the Smart TV’s. I see smart TV’S replacing standalone game consoles by having an electronic app store to download and buy games and apps right from your tv and store them and play your games via with a bluetooth wireless remote to your TV, with motion sensor technology like the Nintendo wii.
    Most physical media will be obsolete in the future. I can see it now. So that will be a major decline for the need of a physical store. LOOK what’s happening to best buy for an example. They are loosing sales due to more people are shopping online. More and More products are offered online than a physical stores and have a larger capacity in stock.

  9. Emmanuel
    July 9, 2012 at 4:26 am

    I would absolutely say yes the physical brick and mortar stores will continue to decline due to increasing online store stores and more and more people are shopping and buying online than a decade ago. I predict in the future all digital media including games, movies, music, software/apps, photos, videos, books, magazines, newspapers will be 100 % digital download distribution. It's all ready happening now. I predict in the future standalone video game console will become obsolete because I see a future of total integration. Smart TV's are one the market and I see video games moving more towards mobile platforms like tablets and smartphones. I see the same concept with mobile device's like the ipad to be applied to the Smart TV's. I see smart TV'S replacing standalone game consoles by having an electronic app store to download and buy games and apps right from your tv and store them and play your games via with a bluetooth wireless remote to your TV, with motion sensor technology like the Nintendo wii.

    Most physical media will be obsolete in the future. I can see it now. So that will be a major decline for the need of a physical store. LOOK what's happening to best buy for an example. They are loosing sales due to more people are shopping online. More and More products are offered online than a physical stores and have a larger capacity in stock.

    • Yaara Lancet
      July 10, 2012 at 7:52 am

      The brick and mortar decline is seen especially in electronics and media, as you say. In the department, we've already seen a significant change in the past decade. It's left to be seen what this decade will bring...

  10. Greg
    July 9, 2012 at 4:07 am

    I don't think that they'll ever find a good substitute for simply browsing a real store, wandering through aisles that contain a multitude of items, open to inspiration. I certainly have noticed this with the near demise of bookstores.

    Shopping Amazon, I get the books that Amazon recommends, but I don't see the hundreds or thousands of other books in the same category by authors that nobody has even heard of yet for all practical purposes.

    • Yaara Lancet
      July 10, 2012 at 7:48 am

      That's true. On the other hand, as much as I love book stores, when I browse one for 2 hours, I usually end up not buying anything. The sheer volume of books is overwhelming.

      When I log into Amazon, I usually already know what I want through recommendations on GoodReads, I read some reviews, maybe browse a bit for similar things, and then buy.

      • Gregory Seery
        July 10, 2012 at 1:23 pm

        Some people like to buy based on other people's recommendations. I on the other hand, browse a few pages and if the book catches me in that brief read, will go ahead and buy. That way I know that I'm getting a book that appeals to me, not to someone who I don't know. Plus, there is the minor reward of finding a new book/author before everyone else piles on. *G*

  11. musicphann
    July 9, 2012 at 2:10 am

    I've got to try it before I buy it.

    • Yaara Lancet
      July 10, 2012 at 7:46 am

      Good point! So you don't buy anything online? Or just things you don't need to try?

      • musicphann
        July 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm

        I do buy online. If it's a big purchase I'll stop by a place like Best Buy and check it out. For instance, I'd like to see a monitor or TV in person before buying to see picture quality and color temperature. Additionally, something like a mouse or keyboard I'd try to make sure that it feels right.

  12. Matt.Smith
    July 9, 2012 at 2:02 am

    Online retail sales were only 7% of all retail sales in the United States for 2011. This figure is expected to rise to 8% in 2014.

    http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/08/forrester-forecast-online-retail-sales-will-grow-to-250-billion-by-2014/

    I think retail stores are gonna do just fine.

    • Yaara Lancet
      July 10, 2012 at 7:46 am

      Those are interesting numbers, but I wonder how exactly this was calculated. If it's 7% money wise, it makes sense, since offline transactions can be for new cars or houses or other big things, but most people won't buy these things online.

  13. Achraf Almouloudi
    July 9, 2012 at 1:04 am

    How would you buy milk daily from Amazon to have it shipped in night .

    • Ethan
      July 9, 2012 at 2:45 am

      I live on a dairy farm so I don't have that problem haha. I think stores will always have their place. Some electronics can be bought much cheaper online. For instance any kind of cables whether they're HDMI or Ethernet can be bought online for pennies on the dollar compared to stores.

      • Yaara Lancet
        July 10, 2012 at 7:40 am

        Awesome! Living on a dairy farm sounds amazing.

        But anyway, yes, many things are cheaper online, especially electronics. Others are probably not. And you can't change your watch's battery online. :)

    • Yaara Lancet
      July 10, 2012 at 7:36 am

      Not Amazon, but there are already groceries shipping food items which you can order online. Where I live, all the big chains offer that option. It might not work if you need just a carton of milk, but it does work rather well.

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