After Wal-Mart announced it would be partnering with AutoInsurance.com to service car insurance customers through its website, independent agents were quick to point out that a comparative quote engine from a major super-chain can’t compare with the one-on-one consultation provided by an independent insurance agent.
“Consumers soon discover after time with the direct companies that dealing with an agent versus a call center, the agent wins in the end,” commented IBA reader Scott Neilson, “though it takes sometimes years or bad claims experience for them to discover this.”
For certain purchases, some people will go for the online choice. This would be the case with distant and one time purchases like a special toy for Christmas or a certain book that would be less likely to be on the store shelves. Most other purchases though, people tend to do in person or the option is not available like clothing or food.
While the popularity of online shopping continues to increase, it will not bring the demise of the super-chain Wal-Mart. If you shop online, you have to pay for shipping. This is both inconvenient because you have to wait to get your items, and more expensive than Wal-Mart. Additionally, you cannot have the same experience of trying out products like clothes before buying them if you shop online only.
Walmart will be successful regardless of the prevalence of online shopping. Their prices are cheap and they have a very large selection, which factors in and of themselves will attract people to their stores. Moreover, online shopping requires shipping items, sometimes long distances, which takes time. Anyone who needs an item right away will want to get it as cheap and convenient as possible, which will likely lead them to a Walmart.
I still go to Walmart on a regular basis even though I love shopping on Amazon. No one can be prepared 100% of the time and I still need to run out for things I have forgotten. Until Amazon starts an instant delivery service, I think stores like Walmart will still be in existence.