Retailers have started viewing their brick-and-mortar stores as an extension of their .com operations. The most savvy retail chains are no longer surprised when shoppers engage in showrooming (head to Best Buy to test a laptop, then purchase it online) and have begun working on ways to use it to their advantage.
"We are living in the age of the customer, and you can either fight these trends that are happening — showrooming is one — or you can embrace them," Joel Anderson, who heads up Walmart.com in the US recently told the New York Times.
The article goes on to list numerous retail chains in addition to Walmart (Macy's, Best Buy, Sears, and the Container Store) that are embracing change. They're turning their brick-and-mortar locations into places where customers can pick up online purchases (with all the benefits that entails), make returns, and pay for online merchandise.
And it's not only brick-and-mortar stores that are having to adapt to the times. Online-only retailers like Amazon will also need change their ways.
"You will definitely start to see online-only players open stores,"Alison Jatlow Levy, a retail consultant at Kurt Salmon, told the newspaper.
You can read more about how online shopping is changing retail at nytimes.com.