High street retailers may be forgiven a tinge of nostalgia about life before online commerce. In the United Kingdom, the year 2013 has seen the bankruptcy of Blockbuster, the movie-rental chain, Jessops, the venerable camera retailer, and HMV, the even more venerable entertainment retail chain. These businesses—and others before them—proved unable to adapt to the wide-scale of shift of consumers’ shopping activities from high street stores to the comfort of the sofa, via a computer or a mobile device.
The Internet has not necessarily slashed consumer traffic into stores. It has fed the growth, however, of “showrooming”, where shoppers view a product in a store but then buy online, often with a cheaper online retailer. In a recent report on digital retailing, Amaze, a UK-based digital agency, says that “showrooming is here to stay, and retailers have little choice but to work out how to serve a growing group of customers who only want to visit a shop to experience a product but will ultimately purchase it online”