Impact of Online Sales on Malls and Brick and Mortar Retail Shops

DES MOINES, Iowa --  "I do a lot on Amazon, because I like that it just gets delivered to my door and I am not a mall person," said Andria Nelson of Ankeny. "I hate going to the mall," she said. "If I have something specific, I`d rather come here to a specialty type area like the East Village and look around there," said Nelson.

And that's how a lot of shoppers feel these days, which is why many malls across the country are at risk of closing. According to Business Insider, since the start of the year, more than 1,500 store closures have been announced by retailers.

Stores that are unique and standout from the rest are the ones that will survive in these changing times. Places like Sex + Ice Cream (a clothing store) in the East Village command attention and attract shoppers inside.

"Absolutely, yeah, which is cool and the whole store is pink, obviously, which is different as well and I think we carry a lot of different items than other stores in the East Village or in just the Des Moines area in general, so that helps makes us stand out too," said Tiffany Kintzer, who works at the store.

Thomas M. Swartwood, Assistant Professor of Practice in Entrepreneurship at Drake University, says there still is a place for brick and mortar shops in the 21st century, but he questions whether there are enough of them to fill up a traditional mall.

"I question the ability of a town the size of Des Moines to support all the malls that they support. I have to have a pretty good reason to go to the mall. I have to have a good reason to go to any of them," he said.

But online shopping isn't for everyone. At Southridge Mall, shoppers like Troy English still prefer buying things at a physical location.

"I'm the type of shopper that likes to feel what I'm getting and actually see it and maybe try it on as opposed to going online where it might not be the right size and you gotta send it back and that's a hassle, where I could just come back here with my receipt and exchange it and be all done."