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Bucking the trend: Can successful online retailers help turnaround physical stores?

By now, you've seen the headlines and read the eulogies.
The shopping malls and physical stores are struggling. Most of them are on the brink of financial and retail death.
Today, buying gifts or doing general shopping is completed from the comfort of your own home, with a credit card in one hand an a wireless mouse in another. A few clicks here, and another few there, and you've just completed your wardrobe, upgraded your living room décor or finally purchased that new computer you've needed.
More importantly, you didn't fight off traffic, crowds and fellow customers or have to contend with retail salespersons that may be more interested in commissions than dishing out realistic advice to help with your purchase.
Those facts, among others, have contributed to the fall of shopping malls in the traditional sense, in addition to once marquee retailers like Sears that are having a hard time staying afloat in a marketplace that seems them as dinosaurs. If you don't believe that sentiment, try to find a Circuit City, Borders or K.B. Toys somewhere. Those notable retailers have already been declared D.O.A., and more seem to be heading in that direction.

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The decline and outright death of large scale retailers directly effects equally huge shopping malls, since most of these stores act as cornerstones for these complexes. Once the likes of Sears, JC Penny or Bon Ton sing their final swan song or perhaps move out completely, the malls tend to die off quickly.
All of this gloom and doom pretty much confirms the writing on the wall that brick and mortar stores pale in comparison to the likes of online entities such as Amazon and others that of that ilk that are flourishing.
But even in the midst of stores starting to crumble, some online retailers that have experienced success on the world wide web are opening stores to further their product brand, suggesting that perhaps the problem isn't physical stores per say but rather the company itself or other aspects, like the size of the store.
For example, Sears isn't well liked and has a low customer service rating. Despite several attempts to reinvent itself through marketing efforts, Sears is flailing and barely staying afloat.
Those online retailers that are contemplating the move from the web to actual store also are doing so with modesty in mind. They're opening stores that are small, intimate and not necessarily budget breakers as far as square footage, rent and utilities.
These stores, such as Bonobos, are either piggy backing with other stores and featuring their products within already established retailers or opening tiny shops that still pack a punch, proving that sales aren't directly proportionate to the size of the store.
Most online entities that are branching out to their own space are doing so on their own terms and with enough popularity and sales online to warrant the decision. That seems like logical business, rather than a move rooted in impulsiveness. It's also worth noting that online stores that are opening in person so to speak are doing so in moderation, rather than biting off too much, too soon.
That mentality may give new life to malls and dismiss the notion that physical retail stores are relics.

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