shops vs online stores

 Offline vs Online Stores




drop off parcel competitors
own deliver available
used bargain name-brand
brazen scruples practical
stuff boast  proprietor
trend divide convenient
couch gather get on my nerves
battle compete acquaintance
retailer give up lose her shirt
brick mortar brick and mortar shop
breed resident dying breed
aware platform wake up call
portal  attract impression
hope sticker alternative






Each day, Jimmy Blum’s store turns into a drop off point for packages from his online competitors.

He accepts delivery of parcels for his neighbors when they are not home.

Jimmy Blum, Store Owner: “It makes me sad when packages arrive, and I see people have ordered things that are for sale in their own building: nice things that are available here for the same price or even cheaper.

It’s quite depressing.”

Blum has been selling gently used, name-brand clothes for fourteen years. Though there are bargains to be had, he’s losing business to online shops.

And some customers have no scruples.

Jimmy: “We have some brazen customers: they try on our things, photograph them in secret, use our shop as a showroom.

Then they think they get the stuff cheaper on the net — which really isn’t true.”

Jimmy Blum’s store is located in Hamburg’s Einsbruttle district. It’s not far from the city center.

The area is home to many academics. And it boasts many smaller shops.

The question is: for how much longer?

Local residents are divided on the issue of online shopping.

Resident One: “It’s become a trend in our family. My wife and my daughter like to shop online because it’s practical.

Resident Two: “It’s convenient: you sit on the couch . . . surf a bit . . . make a few clicks . . . pay — and it’s delivered.”

Resident Three: “I gather info online and see what’s available, but I don’t buy things there. It’s better to buy them in stores.

Sending packages back and forth gets on my nerves. And there’s no need in a city.”

Jimmy Blum says a few stores in his neighborhood have closed for good — they couldn’t compete with online shops.

Until a few months ago, an acquaintance of his ran a children’s clothing store here.

Jimmy: “It’s sad. For six years, she operated a nice shop with lots of love. She was friendly and active in the community.

But it was a losing battle and she gave up.”

She didn’t lose her shirt, but she knew there was no future in it.”

She’s returned to her former profession.”

Now Blum is fighting back against online retailers like Amazon.

And he’s not alone.

Independent shopkeepers educate the public that brick-and-mortar stores are a dying breed through campaigns like this one in which 60 proprietors covered their shop windows with packing paper.

Birgitt Grossmann-Hensel: “It did a lot; it raised awareness. It was in all the media. And it was mainly young people who came here after being made aware that always buying things online is a problem.

You could sense it clearly. They’d come in and say they hadn’t really realized it.”

The shop owners don’t just want to give consumers a wake up call: they’ve also devised a new strategy . . . one that relies on the internet of all things.

A new online platform called “Product Mate”, designed especially for independent retailers, is supposed to draw people back into the stores.

Users just enter what they are looking for: a blouse for instance. And the platform shows what’s on offer in their area.

Jimmy Blum’s items can also be found here. He pays 165 euros a year for the service.

Ben Sebasta: “Product Mate is about making local products from independent retailers findable on the internet. It’s to start a counter movement to online shops and most of all to offer an alternative to other online portals.

We want to appeal to people to inform themselves about what’s available in their area.

Jimmy: “I get the impression that Product Mate is bringing other customers to my store. New customers and younger customers who are crazy about shopping online.”

Sales are still falling, but Jimmy Blum isn’t going down without a fight.

He puts stickers that say, “Support Local Retailers” on his neighbors’ packages in hopes of attracting more paying customers to his store.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. Who is Jimmy Blum? What is his job? Is he a businessman?

2. There is an irony about Jimmy’s store and online shopping. True or false?

3. Has Jimmy been feeling sad and depressed lately?

4. Some customers are brazen and have no scruples. What does this mean?

5. Everyone is shopping online. Is this correct or wrong? Why are more people shopping online?

6. What have happened to other stores in the area? What happened to the children’s clothing store?

7. There is another irony about reversing the fortunes of retail shops. Yes or no?

A. Do you shop online? What about your friends? Do they shop online?

B. What has been the shopping trend in your city?

C. What are the advantages and disadvantages of buying in a store?

D. What are the pros and cons of shopping online?

E. What will happen in the future? Is this good, bad, neither or both?

Comments are closed.