Tech takeover

Online shopping is dethroning retail stores


Northern Lights shopping center has lost a lot of stores over time.

Hailey Zeidler, Staff Writer

Most people don’t want to go out in the cold or the blaring hot sun to go shopping. Instead, many people would rather stay at home in their comfortable clothes. The majority of people have internet, phones and computers. Some of the time spent on those devices is spent shopping online.

With more and more businesses creating websites and applications that can be downloaded onto the user’s cell phone, people are staying home to shop instead of going out. Businesses create these apps so that people can shop on their phone and the merchandise will be with them everywhere they go. Not only can they shop from the app, some offer coupons that users can use, which helps the business acquire more customers.  

Businesses such as Toys “R” Us are going more digital because they are not getting enough customers at their stores. Toys “R” Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy right before the holiday season during September of 2017. They are trying to make their stores more digital by creating a free augmented reality app called “Play Chaser”. Customers will open the app on their phone, follow the arrows around the store and it will have different characters and animals pop up. It would make shopping a lot more interesting and creative for kids. The app will hopefully make people want to go to their stores and buy products there instead of shopping on websites like Amazon.

Amazon has more than 300 million active users. During Amazon’s peak day on Nov. 26, 2016, customers bought more than 26.5 million items worldwide. Their products range from alcohol and groceries to technology and digital music. Not to mention, Amazon Prime members get free shipping when they order groceries and many other items. Amazon’s busiest time is the around the holidays – more specifically, Black Friday.

More people are going to want to stay inside and not fight crowds to get the perfect gift because now they have that ability right at their fingertips. Also, many stores and businesses offer free shipping on items, which pulls more people into online shopping.

Stores like Walmart, Amazon and Whole Foods are even letting people purchase groceries online. Some of the stores are delivering products to your doorstep and giving the option to pick them up at the store, which is free. One of the many stores that are doing that is the Giant Eagle in Cranberry.

A local business, Roll Star Games, Toys & More, gives customers the ability to shop in store or online.

“We for sure get more online customers,” the owner of Roll Star Games, Toys & More said. “We sell toys that you cannot get anywhere else, they are collectables, so we use Ebay as a way for customers from all over the world to be able to buy them. Being able to buy and sell online is what grew our business.”

The National Retail Federation data from 2016 shows that more than 108 million people shopped online during Black Friday, which is around 5 million more people than in 2015. While people were shopping online, 99 million people were shopping in stores, which is 3 million less people since 2015. More people are staying home to shop instead of fighting crowds and staying up all night to purchase the same items that they can get in the comfort of their homes.

Online shopping is increasing as the years go on. More department stores are closing and not getting as many in-store customers. Online sales are rising as in-store sales are decreasing; technology is taking over the lives of many.