Most consumers in this day and age have realized that they can find that “much needed” item online for a better bargain that at a brick and mortar retail center.  After all, the respective distribution center’s “DCs”overhead, rent, and labor rates are less per purchased item versus their storefront counterparts.

The DCs can also maintain inventory levels more accurately when shipping from one central location that services a large portion of the United States.  Whereas, each store front attracts only local patrons and typically end up increasing inventory by holding on to slow selling items.

In attempts to help merge these selling channels, many e-retailers now offer the option to buy online and pick up the item at their neighborhood stores.  I have utilized this feature a number of times myself to avoid hefty shipping charges and still get the lower online price.

As a way to help maximize efficient inventory practices, many national brand companies have begun to offer direct ship from stores to residential addresses.  This gives the buyer the chance to touch and feel the item prior to offering up their method of payment.  This eliminates any apprehension on the consumer end, knowing they themselves or the gift recipient will be getting exactly what they have ordered.  In many cases, you can negotiate to the online price even at the store by displaying their advertised web pricing.

To even further integrate these channels, a number of large corporations have eliminated their centralized distribution centers by filling online orders from retail stores currently carrying the purchased item based on closest proximity to the ship to destination.  This cuts down on the their overall shipping costs by limiting the travel distance.

This goes on to prove that E-commerce and Brick and Mortar retailers have found a balance to co-exist for years to come.