The nature of the internet business model allows more centralized inventory control and more efficient order and fulfillment management than a retail store network. And of course with centralized fulfillment, online merchants don’t incur the cost of distributing inventory around the country, or even throughout a region. In addition, they can extend or cancel promotions depending upon demand and inventory levels.
The Internet provides marketers with the ability and responsibility to know their customers in much greater depth than does the retail model. The Web model also enables marketers to exploit that knowledge far more effectively.
Historians eventually will look on last year as the beginning of the end for retail stores (aka fixed asset distribution) as we know them. Holiday ’08 retail sales dipped 5.5 percent to 8 percent from the previous year, the most dramatic decline in decades. Few, if any, retailers projected such drama.