Today in Connected Consumer

Back in the e-commerce 1.0 days, there were high hopes among brick-and-mortar retailers that the bricks-and-clicks model would make them competitive against pure-play e-retailers. Those hopes were mostly unfulfilled, however, as e-retailers were able take advantage of cost savings and the lack of sales taxes on web purchases to grab significant market share. Things have only gotten worse for brick-and-mortar merchants with the emergence of “showrooming,” in which consumers use mobile devices to buy products online that they see in stores. But bricks-and-clicks may be making a comeback. EBay is courting brick-and-mortar merchants to get them to set up virtual shops on its e-commerce platform in a bid to take on Amazon. Starbucks’ $25 million investment in mobile-payment processor Square could also signal the start of a rush by brick-and-mortar merchants to stake claims in the mobile payment space, which could help connect them with broader e-commerce opportunities. Congress may also give brick-and-mortar shops a big boost soon if proposed legislation to allow states to tax online sales goes through.