In the age of e-commerce there's no need for expensive retail venues

By Le Quang   November 13, 2023 | 03:22 pm PT
In the age of e-commerce there's no need for expensive retail venues
A person uses an e-commerce app to buy goods. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Trang
When discovering that buying online is cheaper, consumers will not accept to share rental fees with traditional retailers.

The other day I went to a bookstore and saw a pen model that I liked but the price was a bit expensive, VND30,000, so I didn't buy it.

Back home, while surfing the internet, I opened the e-commerce application and searched for that pen model. To my surprise, the price was half the price at the bookstore, so I immediately ordered two pens.

Telling this story to a friend, my friend laughed and said I was outdated, and that his family has been buying everything online for several years now, including refrigerators and laptops.

"Just go to the showroom of the stores to look, enjoy the air conditioning and listen to the comfortable consultation, then go home and order online, don't be shy," my friend advised.

I argued that for items of high value, we should buy at the store so we can get compensation if there’s any problem afterwards. But my friend said that now online retailers also offer good after-sales service and warranty.

Since then, I have compared the price of every item purchased online and offline and found the online price to be cheaper. If you have the opportunity to hunt for sales or discount vouchers, you can save even more money. Now every item can be bought and sold online, from snacks and electronics to clothes.

The disadvantage of buying online is that one cannot directly check the product and must wait for delivery. But it is compensated by reading comments and reviews of previous buyers for reference and if the price is cheaper than buying at a store, a few days of waiting is acceptable.

Many businesses said the costs for premises in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi account for 30% to 38% of total retail revenue. In times of slow sales and reduced revenue, rent will account for up to 70% of the business’s expenses.

I have seen many front houses for rent and businesses closed recently, and there are many signs hanging up looking for new rentors.

I think post-Covid-19 economic fluctuations and people tightening their spending are only part of the problem. The bigger problem is that there is a shift in sales structure as well as consumer buying habits.

The above closed premises have very high rental fees, from several hundred million to a billion of dong a month (VND100 million = US$4,100).

Why should consumers pay more to bear the rent for business people? It's time for rental property owners to reconsider and take steps to reduce prices and support businesses, because times are changing.

The opinions expressed here are personal and do not necessarily match VnExpress's viewpoints. Send your opinions here.
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