“Retail guys are going to go out of business and ecommerce will become the place everyone buys. You are not going to have a choice. We’re still pre-death of retail” - Marc Andreessen, source pandodaily
Over the last year, I have been asked a lot about why I’m starting Kickscout
, a “shopping app
" company. On the surface, my personality and “shopping” don’t match. I wear cargo pants from 3 years ago. I wear t-shirts I got for free from tech conferences and old sport teams that I’ve collected over the years. I don’t know designers, brands, or even some of the most popular clothing stores. So, most people think “shopping” might not be the right problem for me to solve. I completely disagree.
Re-read the above quote by Marc Andreessen. Marc is a smart guy, and he is 100% right. This is happening and when retail is gone, it will be gone for good. It won’t just be a few or a lot of retailers that will go out of business, it will be ALL of them. These companies’ infrastructure and supply chains are intertwined and rely on each other to keep costs down and service reliable. Once the big retail guys fall, everyone will else will too.
No more hands-on look and feel of the item before you buy it. No more in-person check for quality. No more double checking that you are really purchasing the right thing. No more help from a friendly store’s sales staff. No more excitement that comes from the hunt of getting out and really experiencing the purchase. Never again will shoppers experience the feeling of the walk out of the store with bags in hand and having that feeling of accomplishment. helping the local economy? Forget it, your dollars will be sent to a corporate headquarters on the other side of the globe. We can’t let this get away from us. Online shopping will never be the best experience for everyone.
You want to know why I’m working on this problem? Because “shopping” is NOT just about fashion. The memories I have growing up are filled with trips to the store with my family. Trips into downtown Lowell, MA to visit my grandmother who worked at Jordan Marsh (once Bon Marché
Merrimack Street looking east, Lowell, Mass
I remember my whole family traveling to the opening of the Phesant Lane mall in Nashua, NH. I remember weekly trips to the now out of business Capital Warehouse in Lowell which was probably a dollar store that came before dollar stores were popular.
These aren’t inconvenient trips to the store. These were moments where my family got to learn more about each other. We got to know each other better by taking the time to shop together. I got to watch how my parents interacted with sales staff with respect. I had to learn extreme patients as my brother tried on pants for what felt like an eternity.
As my son grows up, I want to make sure he also gets to experience these family moments as well. Online shopping doesn’t include ANY of these experiences. It scares me to think that this might all be coming to an end.
My wife and I recently took a trip up to the same mall my family went to over 27 years ago. in July 1986, when it opened. Times have changes and Jordan Marsh in downtown Lowell moved to the Mall and later became Macys. My grandmother, now 89 years old, still works there. We took this shot of my son and my grandmother at the store together.
Macy’s at the Pheasant Lane mall, Nashua, NH
There isn’t an online site that can help you shop for cosmetics better than my grandmother. She has been working sales at the store for 50 years. She even doubled as a buyer many years ago, back when sales staff were responsible for their own inventory (imagine that!). My grandmother, knows everyone. You can’t take her out to dinner without her knowing someone who purchased cosmetics from her or worked with her over the years. When we bring my son into the store, everyone comes over to see Janet’s great grandson. Co-workers, customers, managers all say “We hear so much about him”.
These moments happened while shopping. They even happen in large brick and mortar, big box, mall department stores. This photo contains so many emotions that I could never explain it in a blog post. This is so special! We can’t lose this, and THAT is why I am working on this problem.