Houston is soon to be short one business. It was announced earlier this month that Fred’s was going out of business. This was sad news to the town for sure, but it is also part of a much larger and more alarming trend.

In the last few years, there have been numerous retail stores going out of business. Toys R Us, Sears and K-Mart just to name a few. Why all of a sudden are these stores, which have been around in some capacity for decades, going out of business? The answer is the internet.

We can go online and purchase the same item that we would buy in a retail outlet on Amazon for a fraction of the price. It is then delivered right to our door, and we do not have to leave the house or see any other people in the process. For the younger generation of people, this is the ideal scenario. We often lead busy lives, so having front door service helps maximize our time and allows for more of it to be spent doing other things besides walking through a store and having to hunt for items, check out and get caught in random conversations. Essentially, the world moves so fast around us, that we are constantly trying to find ways to keep up.

Many people also live on their phones now. This makes it leaps and bounds easier for them to shop. They are a point and a click away from any item they can imagine.

There are still benefits to visiting a traditional “Brick and Mortar” store as they are often called. In person, we can examine the items we are purchasing. We also are afforded the face-to-face experience that some people do enjoy. The downside though is long lines and wait times, often times items are out of stock and have to be ordered online anyway and finally, we have to actually leave the house to get there.

Many retail chains have simply chosen to evolve to meet this trend head on. They have an online presence as well as the physical stores. We can go on Wal-Mart’s website, and order something and have it delivered, same as Amazon. This is probably why chains such as Wal-Mart are still financially viable.

This trend also poses a threat to the small town “Mom and Pop” businesses. That is why people are often asked to “shop local”. Supporting local businesses is equally as important as corporate-run chains. There is even a “Small Business Saturday” the day after Black Friday to encourage people to support their local businesses.

Either way, it is clear that the internet has brought about an end of the traditional shopping experience. Companies now have a choice to make, change with the times, or face the dreaded fate of so many before them.

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