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Our expert voices conversation about the death of retail.

Amazon has well over 500 million products for sale. Walmart, Amazon's next nearest competitor, hopes to be selling 200 million products by 2020. By then, Amazon may well have 1 billion products for sale.

Absent wide-scale missteps on its part, Amazon is unstoppable. It and its myriad of e-commerce cohorts will continue to grow meteorically, entirely at the expense of traditional brick and mortar retail. But they will not "wipe out" physical shopping, for these reasons:

  • Consumers need to possess and/or be willing to use a credit card to participate in e-commerce. The cash consumer will likely remain tethered to physical stores.
  • Consumers who are unable or unwilling to receive package deliveries to their home or place of work will likely remain tethered to physical stores.
  • Consumers will always have a discernable affinity for "touching, feeling and trying" things that they intend to acquire. That's not to say that many customers appear hesitant to shop "sight unseen" via the internet. But some will shun shopping in that way.

Bottom line: E-commerce enterprises will eventually have to trade off future potential volume growth against substantial shipping costs and the extraordinary costs of dealing with exorbitant customer returns, which e-commerce enterprises are burdened with in contrast with brick and mortar stores.

Other voices in the conversation:

Go deeper

Updated 34 mins ago - World

17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

American officials and authorities in Haiti are working to try and free 17 hostages from a U.S.-based missionary group who were kidnapped in Port-au-Prince over the weekend, AP reported Monday.

The latest: Christian Aid Ministries said in a statement Sunday, "The group of 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen includes five men, seven women, and five children." The Ohio-based organization said they were on a trip to visit an orphanage when they were kidnapped Saturday.

China's economic growth slows

A worker assembles heavy truck engines in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, on Monday. Photo: Long We/Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

China's economy grew 4.9% in the third quarter of 2021 compared with a year earlier, the country's National Bureau of Statistics announced Monday.

Why it matters: The gross domestic product growth in the July-September period in the world’s second-largest economy marked the "weakest pace since the third quarter of 2020 and slowing from 7.9% in the second quarter," Reuters notes.

4 hours ago - World

Former spy Steele defends controversial Trump Russia dossier

Former U.K. intelligence officer Christopher Steele arrives at the High Court in London in July 2020. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

The author of the "Steele Dossier," containing unverified claims about former President Trump told ABC News he stands by his controversial report, according to excerpts from an upcoming documentary released Sunday.

Why it matters: The FBI drew on former U.K. intelligence officer Christopher Steele's dossier as part of its investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged links to Russia's government, which led to former special counsel Robert Mueller's probe.

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