The Evils of E-Commerce

Online shopping is taking a toll on businesses

Kaitlyn Willard, Features Editor

Photo by Sydney Looney

The wave of online shopping has taken a toll on the generations of today. With the holiday season quickly approaching, purchasing items off of the interweb is an act of convenience as seasonal sales, promo codes and free shipping after spending $50 or more make it hard to say “no” to the virtual allusion of shopping.

But what is happening to the physical businesses and stores? Sure, I can Google Search, “Urban Outfitters”and shop from there; but how does that affect the Urban Outfitters right here in Omaha?

All around the metro area, businesses are closing left and right. Recently, Yonkers, Sears and Toys-R-Us have closed or are in the process of closing. E-commerce has greatly impacted physical stores and their employees.What’s the point in having a store if everyone is always buying items online? While adding to their virtual cart and adding to their wish list, the effect of the employees is the last thought as people click check out.

I myself have definitely participated in this recent phenomenon and I’ll admit, shopping has never been easier. I can buy a whole new outfit from the comfort of my own couch,  how convenient. But as simple as this task is, to me, nothing is better than actually shopping. The only, and I emphasize, only time I will go online shopping is if the item I am looking for is not available at the local store or if it is from a brand that is not here in Omaha.

Touching the fabrics and trying on the sizes is impossible to do on the computer. Two aspects of shopping that are the most important in my opinion. Also, hello, instant gratification. Even Amazon Prime can’t ship your order faster than you can purchase it from the store. Not only does going into the store provide the shopping experience we all know and love, but it’s helping out the employees of these stores. Their jobs are provided by people buying from them, not online.

Take Abercrombie & Fitch for example, which closed in the Westroads Mall in January 2018. There is no longer an Abercrombie & Fitch in Omaha, there’s not even one in Nebraska. Employees lost their jobs and I lost one of my favorite clothing stores. So this whole situation was a lose/lose.

Fox Business claims, “The rise of ecommerce outlets like Amazon has made it harder for traditional retailers to attract customers to their stores and forced companies to change their sales strategies.” Even the Village Point J.Crew went out of business along with many other J.Crew’s across America. Another lose/lose.

Now, I’m not the CEO of any well-known brand, but I’d say this has something to do with not enough buyers coming into the store and too many going online. Abercrombie & Fitch appeals to teenagers and young adults, arguably the people who shop online the most. According to Business Insider, “Millennials, those consumers aged 18 to 34, remain the key age demographic for online commerce, spending more money online in a given year than any other age group. These consumers spend around $2,000 annually on e-commerce, despite having lower incomes than older adults.”