To the editor,
Re: Retail future is uncertain, Editorial, Oct. 17.
It’s both tragic and ironic that Sears is closing forever. But, for a moment, go back in time before the internet and computers, when Sears had a business model not so different from Amazon today, given the available technology. Instead of an online catalogue, the Sears yearly catalogue came by mail or was available for pickup from the local Sears store or depot. During the year there were many genuine sale catalogues and of course the hotly anticipated Christmas edition. Ordering was done by phone; payment made by charging your Sears account. If paid in full by the due date it was interest-free. An outstanding balance carried an interest charge. Sound familiar?
Ordered items were delivered to the local Sears store or depot (free shipping) and the customer was informed their order had arrived by a phone call. Home delivery could be arranged for large items. If I order from Amazon today, any item bigger than a DVD or small book goes to the local post office where, large or small, I will have to go to get it and tote it home myself.
How do people choose when they want to order clothing from Amazon? I want to go to the store, see the shirt, feel the material, consider the colour, and get the right size.
It seems to me Sears failed because they didn’t get on the internet system soon enough and they didn’t, as did Amazon, expand to hundreds of thousands (millions?) of products. After all, Amazon started out as just a bookstore. I read recently Amazon is now considering building some brick and mortar outlets. Does Amazon’s business model sound just like the old Sears, only with an update to new technology.
R. Macdonald, Nanaimo