Why Some Bricks and Mortar Retail are Losing to Amazon

I'm old fashioned.  I prefer to go to a store to touch and feel what I buy.   I have never ordered through Amazon.   The few times I have ordered online was because the item wasn't available at a local store, or it was much cheaper than the local appliance parts store.  Otherwise, I drive to the store and buy the part.    As background, we live in an area where just about every major retailer is within a 2-3  mile radius.  The main exceptions are Sears, Nordstrom and a few other mall anchors.

So one of my home projects is the highlight in gold the raised letters on our address plate.   Based on searching,  the ideal solution was an oil paint Sharpie.  According to my search, a big box retailer had the product and the lowest price, about half the price of Amazon.  I checked and they had two in stock.  I called, and they said they had three in stock.   I decided to pick it up on the way back from dropping our daughter off at lessons.

The next morning, I showed up 1.5 hours after opening.  It wasn't available on the shelves.  And the price was twice as much  I went to customer service to check, who confirmed they would honor the internet price. Their system said there were 2 in stock.  They sent someone to pull it, but she said there were none available.   I asked to order and pay for it.  They said they could only charge me for physical items at the store.

So I went home, created a store account (as required) and ordered the product to pick up in store.   An hour later, I received an e-mail that said the item was not in stock.   However, they offered free shipment as a solution (or choosing a store that was 10 miles away).  I took the free shipment option, but will have to wait until this weekend to get the item.

I did complain to the retailer about the inaccuracy of their "in stock" info.   They gave me a stock answer, which I accepted but knew it was covering for the inefficiency of their stocking info.   But I did let them know that I felt like I should have been better helped since I was actually in their store. 

I will still choose to go to the store; but for this retailer, I will order online to make sure it will be at the store when I go there.

 For more on Crossing Generations, check back every Thursday for a new segment.

This is not financial, investment or shopping advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

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