With Max Azaria’s BCBG to be yet another consumer outlet to move entirely online, it is impossible to ignore the ever-growing trends of shopping in the online world. As major clothing companies begin to transition the way music, movies and books have, we can expect more stores to follow suit. While this hurts the job market, consumer pressure on retailers for convenience makes it impossible for stores to stay open with the increased online demand.
In an effort to save BCBG from bankruptcy, Reuters reports that nearly 200 stores will be closed, like competitive brand American Apparel. Bloomberg reports that while BCBG is not considering selling the company completely, it does have plans for complete restructuring to compensate for the debt and online shopping trend.
As markets have shifted online over the last 10 years, BCBG must do the same to stay relevant and competitive. While this bold move removes thousands of retail positions from the job market, the consumer convenience and money-saving strategies for the company unfortunately outweigh any job loss from the business perspective. CNN reports that Macy’s, one of the nation’s largest retailers, will let go of approximately 10,000 employees with the store closures that will occur this year.
With the number of major retailers closing this year alone, the unemployment rate will surely increase. This level of job loss is devastating to retail workers, but businesses find it is not cost-efficient to own stores with numerous employees if most of the purchases are made online and the store spends more money on rent than it makes in sales. From a business and consumer standpoint, it is difficult to deny the incentive of the digital world.
While brick and mortar stores offer face-to-face customer service and the ability to try on clothing, online retailers have become more user-friendly, many of which offer free returns and exchanges as well as around-the-clock call lines and chat sessions for consumers. Not only is it easier to find clothing online, but sizes are more inclusive and items are well-stocked, as opposed to traditional stores that offer fewer select sizes. Shopping is made even simpler as online accounts save credit and shipping information, making the shopping process as easy as the click of a button.
In-store shopping finds it impossible to compete with the online comparative shopping. From textbooks to technology, most deals are found online. Textbooks originally sold in a bookstore can sell for as much as $200, while an used edition can be found online for a quarter of the cost.
While we hope in-store shopping won’t be entirely obsolete, we have to face the inevitable. As media transitions to the digital world, so does the shopping experience.