Death of Brick and Mortar

Brick and Mortar takes so many forms but the ultimate manifestation is the mall.

Desserted Mall

I grew up in the age of Mallrats and Clueless.

Who can forget Magic Eye (Hint: It’s not a sailboat) and Cher gathering her thoughts and finding sanctuary with retail therapy? The age where the stores you frequented could really define you as a person in the social strata that was middle school.

Malls had everything we could possibly ever need.

I’m sure I clocked hundreds of miles doing the circuit end to end. This was long before the first mp3 player was even a glimmer in someone’s eye, let alone smart phones that could tell me exactly how far I had walked. How did we even FIND our friends before every human capable of walking had a cellphone?

And buying stuff? The main goal of malls? We have endless options, instant price matching, and if you want to sell anything your shipping better be free. My point is, even the ancillary purposes that malls fulfilled are taken care of, and obviously, selling things, has been moved entirely online.
Right? The year is now 2014 and malls will never be what they once were. All of the needs we had as teens are now met digitally. Teenage awkwardness is so much easier to handle if we can script our online life. Hanging with friends has been usurped by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. We can display our love for Backstreet Boys via our Tumblr rather than buying Bop or Tiger Beat. (It’s digitized now anyway).
Brick and Mortar dies in the news seemingly every day but yet there are stores that continue to thrive despite the ubiquity and ease of digital commerce. For every Best Buy destroyed by Amazon there are stores that thrive because they provide customers with an experience or benefit that can’t be met in the digital world.
Think every coffee shop offering free wifi, bike stores offering coffee, or coffee stores with in-store DJs.
Of course, you would be hard-pressed to find a business nowadays that is not online. No matter what you sell it’s virtually a mandate that you have some sort of digital presence. That being said there are a ton of businesses selling products that I would have a very hard time purchasing online.

Quick, name something legal that is hard to sell on the internet.

Car CircleIce Cream Circle
Cat CircleFurniture Circle
Axe CircleWine Circle
The list is most definitely a lot longer.
On Wednesday, October 8th for Design Week Portland we will be delving into the tactics, technologies, and design tricks that are or can be used to entice unwilling customers to purchase without ever touching, tasting, or smelling what they are buying.
As marketers and designers we have just begun to scratch the surface of what is possible when it comes to bringing offline products into the digital realm and no doubt we will be witness to an amazing evolution of how we experience what we know as the internet. Visionaries pushing the limits of what is possible such as Oculus Rift with Virtual Reality may soon revolutionize what we know as an immersive experience. The barrier of Touch, Taste, and Smell could well be broken down within our lifetime, and I’m not talking about Smell-o-vision.

So come join us! Space is limited and we will have food, booze, and fun, while we drop some knowledge working together to

About eROI

eROI crafts compelling digital experiences across email, web, and social channels. Our work has been consistently successful in driving revenue and exceeding goals for our partners.

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