To the Journal editor:
A phrase you hear a lot in retailing nowadays is showrooming; for those of you who don't know what it is, here is the Cliffs Notes version: a customer walks into a store to browse. He touches, tries on merchandise, feels, learns about it from a trained sales person and possibly even gets fitted.
Seconds later, he whips out a smart phone and conducts a nationwide search to see if the same item is offered for less.
Showrooming isn't illegal, just tacky. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if that scenario is played out often enough, that store may end up disappearing. What if one day there were no more stores to showroom in?
Would consumers really be satisfied shopping virtually given the time lag between looking at it on the computer screen and having it in your hands? If not satisfied, would you be willing to start the whole process again?
Suddenly, the Internet isn't so efficient after all. Your locally owned businesses are there to serve you. They do their best to stock their stores with quality goods and intelligent people to work in them.
They might not be the cheapest price, but if we operated out of a warehouse in an industrial park, we could sell for less, too. Plus we all support local charities, school sports and educational programs and every good cause that you can imagine, not to mention employing your friends and neighbors.
Can an online site make the same claim? Please shop locally this holiday shopping season.