Online Sales Present Challenge to Traditional Brick and Mortar Businesses

OSCEOLA, Iowa -- "Large purchases, expensive items, items that you know, that you recognize, that is going to be the same thing online as if you saw it on the store shelf, those are items that are being sold online quite a bit," said Jeff Edwards, Owner of Farm & Home. Edwards says younger customers are turning to internet sales more and more, and it`s difficult for physical stores like his to compete with the kinds of deals offered by online shopping.

"We do see people in the aisles sometimes checking their smart phones to take a picture of something and look for it online and we try to be as competitive as we can be on that, obviously, because we have a bricks and mortar location, it`s not easy for us to meet every internet price, but we try," said Edwards.

Casey Spoelstra does a lot of shopping on Amazon, but comes to Farm & Home to buy farm supplies and dog food. "If there`s a huge price difference, then I`ll buy it online, otherwise, I really like to support the local community here, the local businesses, Farm and Home, shop local, keep these places going," said Spoelstra. "Our town doesn`t have a whole lot, but we need to keep what we have going," she said.

That shop local mentality is a mindset shared by Bill Kelso, who has a mowing business, and shops at Farm & Home frequently. "I favor small town stores and want to keep the town vibrant, growing, and if I want something, I want to be able to just go get it instead of having to wait for it," said Kelso.

And there`s something you miss out on when you buy something online, instead of in person. "You don`t get the personal experience shopping online that you do in the store, like the people especially at Farm & Home, if you need something, they`re going out of their way to help you, where as if you're shopping online for something, if you can`t find it, you`ve got to spend twenty minutes on hold with customer service to find out they don`t have it," said Spoelstra.

Despite the challenges Farm & Home faces in a marketplace that's increasingly being dominated by online sales, Edwards says business is still good, and he's expecting to have a good year.