bylo wrote: ↑Therein lies the conundrum. Physical retailers can only compete against lower-priced online retailers by differentiating themselves with exemplary customer service, including "generous return policies, on-the-spot product try-outs, & etc conveniences." People will pay more at a bricks and mortar store if they feel they're getting something extra for the premium price. Unfortunately, instead of differentiating themselves, B&M retailers are working hard to cut prices and service in a futile effort to compete with online.
P.S. It's ironic, and a sad commentary on the state of retailing, that most of the retailers with the best customer service and return policies operate online, e.g. Amazon, Zappos, ClearlyContacts, etc.
I think the way the marketing has been going, that people want to pay less. Better customer service is nice, but when it comes down to it why is someone going to pay $1000 for something they can pay for $900.
I think part of the article is that people will go into bestbuy.. check out the item they want, go back home, and order if off the internet. They basically freeride on the benefits you mentioned above. How does best buy cut out freeriders?