The media is constantly buzzing about real world retailers being unable to compete against online stores that provide the same merchandise. The stories often focus on the advantage online retailers have in avoiding charging sales taxes. But in reality the advantage isn’t all about the taxes: It is often about variety of products, availability, the price, and when you can get the product.

Let’s talk about a real-world example of competition in the physical/local market versus going online. Last month I went to purchase an item from my local store. The item costs around $7 in a local drug, grocery or big-box retail store. When my corner drug store no longer stocked the item, I began my search locally. I searched nearly every drug store and grocery store chain and independent store to find this product. To find this one product — that I have used for years — I spent between one and five hours over the course of a week, to no avail.

Read more of this article on The Street.

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