Online shopping and its affects on local businesses

Retailers are the heart of every local community

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Toys R Us is the most recent retail giant to file for bankruptcy.

22News found out if online shopping is hurting conventional brick and mortar businesses in Hampshire County.

Downtown Northampton businesses told 22News, on-site retail shopping creates an experience that online shopping can’t do.

“I do prefer to shop in store,” said Alexis Glynn, a UMass student.

If more customers were like Alexis Glynn, perhaps Toys R Us wouldn’t be the latest retail big box chain to file for bankruptcy.

Money magazine says 22 retailers are at risk for bankruptcy.

According to the National Retail Federation, retailers are the heart of every local community. They drive economic commerce, employ residents, all while serving their neighbors.

But some, can’t compete with online shopping, which places items from around the world, at your fingertips.

“I like to go to the store, preferably, because I like to try things on,” Glynn added. “When I order anything online, I usual have a bad experience and I always have to return something.”

Some shoppers told 22News, it’s all about the experience and being able to actually feel the product. It’s also about the face-to-face interaction.

“It’s all about the service,” Marlene Marrocco, former Chair of Downtown Northampton Association told 22News. “It’s customer service. Quality of the goods has to be there, but face-to-face, customer service. They have to greet you, help you shop, help you pick out things, and know their customers.”

“People in this area are invested in shopping locally,” said Bridget Martin, Manager of Cedar Chest in Northampton. “But in our store, a lot of it is the experience. We really take care of people and try to make the shopping experience fun, personal, which you can’t get online.”

After years of struggling to keep up with Amazon, analysts predict one of every four malls could close within the next five years.