I've been doing the meeting circuit lately. I went to the Chamber of Commerce. Dang, they are trying to help this disappearing town. Everyone is so concerned about all of the downtown businesses closing... rightly so.
Honestly, it pisses me off. It's too easy to push a button from home and get what you purchased next day or in the next few days, only to return it because it doesn't fit or the quality definitely does not look like the picture. Essentially, you are taking the same "risk" by ordering for yourself as we do ordering for a larger audience. However, our vendors aren't as accommodating to us as they are to you because they sell direct now and are making an incredible profit. By the way... we spend thousands of dollars attending the fashion markets to feel the samples and make somewhat educated decisions on what our customers want. We find those Indie designers that you covet and claim as your own.
The world of retail has changed drastically and it will continue. Because although, you may be sad that the retail stores are closing around you, people really want the quickest and best deal. The "designers" that undercut on their websites or make deals on sites like GILT are short sited and don't understand that paying for the best representation...be it the sales reps who build their businesses or the stores that helped build their business will ultimately help them. In the end you, the consumer, will lose because you won't be able to find diverse, quality goods... and eventually the "designers" who released the sales representatives after they built their businesses and undercut the retailers that took the risk to help build the brand won't be there anymore. These "designers" will have to open their own stores or hire bloggers to get the word out... good luck!