With rise of the internet high street businesses are rushing to adapt so they don’t become a thing of the past. However in their rush are they being a storm trooper? Are they missing the point?

First, lets look at two successful hybrid business. Hughes, a electrical store based in East Anglia and Argos, a British catalogue retailer operating in the United Kingdom. If we focus on Argos as its more well known business.

If you order online you can see the in store stock. You can then go in store and collect it. High street shops have become showrooms and mini warehouses.

Compare this to Game and Staples, these stores compete against each other. Online vs instore. The prices are different, online prices are cheaper. When you order online to collect in store, they post your order to the store. You order comes from the central stock, it can’t come from your local store.

It breeds resentment between local stores and corporate HQ. It leads to poor customer service.

I recently cancelled an online order with Staples because they claimed to do next-day delivery, I arrived in the store the next day only to find my order hadn’t arrived. So I phoned up, cancelled it and bought it instore. So it cost them

  • to answer my phone call, because I couldn’t cancel via the website
  • to post my order
  • to receive my order, instore
  • to post back my order to their central warehouse
  • to answer my phone call chasing the refund
  • to answer my phone call chasing the refund, again
  • to answer my tweet, again chasing the refund
  • to then refund my money (not sure if they have to pay a card charge)

All these actions have a staff cost, after all, staff don’t work for free.