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The online retail problem


The online retail problem


The Future. In the last decade, Amazon and other megaretailers have championed the affordable abundance movement: get practically anything delivered to you anywhere for cheap. But in pursuit of this, internet retail has significantly sacrificed quality control, and consumers can only take so much. As online retail gets harder and harder to stomach, we may be on the brink of a buy-local renaissance.

Savvy no more
Online shopping is getting harder and harder to navigate.

  • Internet retail is getting overrun by third-party sellers, noisy ads, and sketchy sponsored products that push relevant well-reviewed options far down the page.
  • This type of decentralized, every-brand-for-themselves e-commerce has been popularized by Amazon and is now getting aped by competitors like Walmart and Target.
  • Today, it’s nearly impossible to be an informed, much less savvy consumer — what Amanda Mull from The Atlantic is declaring “The Death of the Smart Shopper.”

Buyer beware
“Understanding what it is you’re buying, where it came from, and what you can expect of it is a fool’s errand,” writes Mull.

Many of us have had this experience — buying something online from a seemingly reputable site and receiving something off-brand or clearly secondhand.

Then there’s yet another, more insidious layer. It’s near impossible for consumers to properly understand a product’s supply chain in order to avoid, for example, buying things made through forced labor. Yikes.

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