I loved visiting bookstores as a kid. But these days I just read ebooks; and the challenge is discovering new books. In the past, the visit to a bookstore always cause my reading list to lengthen; because you can pick up a book, browse any page, catch a whiff of the smell of its pages and for a single moment or more, feel as though the book actually belong to you. Though of course, it technically isn’t until you finalise the purchase.
But that is exactly the power of physical retailers. They give you the experience of the actual product and allow you to live concurrently in both realities of not owning and actually owning the particular product. It allows you to engage more deeply not just your sight and imagination but also other senses. And I think there’s something to that which allows physical retailers to be at an advantage to e-commerce players. It is an advantage perhaps more important in urban areas than non-urban; where the population density can support the business model.
Physical retail probably won’t be disappearing especially where there’s a measure of local monopoly. Yes you might have to experience some queuing, crowds, shoving around but you also get soak in the sights and sounds of life itself. And learn to engage the market as a real person rather than through a web-based account.