Service of Traditional Retailers Shooing People Online

September 11th, 2023

Categories: E-Commerce, Retail, Retail Window Displays, Shoe Shine Business, Trends

I wonder what the future will be—and the strategy is–for the traditional retailers that force customers to buy from them online.

For example, I tried to buy orchid and violet fertilizer from several stores that sell these plants, and none carried the products. I found them online.

I wanted to buy a gift card for a friend from a restaurant she likes. My only option was to buy an e-gift card that was only good for online orders. She doesn’t make online orders. And I didn’t want to complicate her life. She’d have to figure out how to retrieve something she wasn’t interested in using in the first place. I bought nothing from them.

Walking through the Long Island Railroad station on Madison Avenue below Grand Central Terminal–called Grand Central Madison–that opened in January I wondered about the attractive hallways ready to welcome 25,000 square feet of retail business. The station is still bereft of takeout places, restaurants and clothing shops. I only saw a few kiosks selling coffee, soft drinks and snacks.

Losing in person business isn’t always the fault of a vendor. Changing trends continue to have their impact.

I see no takers at a shoeshine operation with four chairs in Grand Central when I pass by. I don’t think it is solely the fault of the impact of people working remotely. In NYC fewer people are wearing leather shoes—sneakers being the footwear of choice. Increasingly wedding parties wear them too and department stores devote a large percentage of their shoe real estate to them. A smart brand like Hoka recommends styles for running, walking, hiking, gym/fitness and all-day comfort.

Have you found yourself buying more things online not only for convenience but because you are forced to? Do you empathize, as I do, with businesses that may still be essential for some but that have become increasingly difficult to sustain due to changing trends?

Vivid images waiting for stores to replace them at Grand Central Madison–the Long Island Railroad station on Madison Ave below Grand Central Terminal


9 Responses to “Service of Traditional Retailers Shooing People Online”

  1. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie on Facebook: There are certain products I like from Target that are only available online (lately) because they aren’t stocked at the stores (where I shop).

  2. BC Said:

    I will go out of my way not to buy items on line. Sometimes, one is forced to do so. Like to support the small local business people as much as possible.

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:


    The Target nearest me is tiny and I avoid it if possible and wait until I’m in a neighborhood with a bigger store where what I’m looking for is usually on the shelf.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I find that not having a car has changed my shopping habits. It’s easier for me to order online a whole bunch of paper towels, for example, than to lug them home along with whatever else I’m carrying. Having door staff is a huge help as I don’t have to be here when they arrive.

  5. Hank Goldman Said:

    Very little stays the same. A shame. But that’s life.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I don’t expect them to stay the same. It just seems strange to me that a company would force you to buy online when they are paying so much for real estate.

  7. BC Said:

    I would do the same if I lived in the clouds!

    Home on one level, garage, car, and golf cart is quite a different style of living. I can take the golf cart to drug store, food market, restaurants, etc. if I so desire. Driving 3 miles to Costco saves many dollars.

  8. Martha Takayama Said:

    I find myself buying more online because of lessened mobility due to a knee replacement, fear of illness (RSV, Covid) fear of malls, and crime, crowds and mass shootings. Also the closings of so many convenient locations for stores with necessary items within my main street heavily populated area is another factor.

    I lament all of these reasons and actually miss stores.

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Once you receive the new Covid booster and flu vaccine I hope you treat yourself to a visit to a favorite retail store. As for the RSV vaccine, my doctor wants to know more about it after many others have given it a whirl first.

    Thanks to her ability to buy online my mother was able to purchase many gifts and feel a sense of independence she thrived on into her late 80s/early 90s. I welcome the option though I like to support the stores in NYC so that they stay here and if they are fun to visit, I love to.

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