The article illustrates the push and pull between e-commerce and bricks-and-mortar stores.

Getting Started

Introduction to the article (perhaps by having everyone read it)

Survey students about their shopping habits and those of their family members. What percentage prefer to shop online and who prefers to shop at a store? What shopping pattern do they have? Do they shop online, then go to the store? Do they go to the store and then purchase online? Have a class discussion.

Subject Area(s) covered

Marketing, retail, e-commerce, entrepreneurship

Study and Discussion Activity

Key things students can learn from this lesson

  • Students will learn that it takes strategy and effort to convert to new ways of doing business.

Action (here’s how we’ll do it)

  • Ask students where they buy books. For those who go to bookstores, ask what else they look at when they are at the store. How often do they go to the store and not buy anything? How much time do they spend in a bookstore? If they shop online for books what e-commerce sites do they purchase from? How much time do they spend browsing online?
  • Ask students to read the article.
  • Have students answer the following questions. If you are in class, they could work in pairs if they can keep social distance. If you are online, they can work in pairs depending on the technology you are using.
    • Reisman says she hears from her customers that Indigo stores are their “happy place”. What do you think they mean by this?
    • Reisman indicates that the holidays are going to be challenging. What are the challenges she anticipates?
    • What are the key issues of an e-commerce site for a store like Indigo?
  • Have the pairs brainstorm ways that Indigo can overcome its challenges. Share ideas with the class or on a discussion board.

Consolidation of learning

  • Have students evaluate the Indigo e-commerce site and compare it another online seller. What are the key elements that they see as adding value to the e-commerce experience?
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria

  • Students understand the challenges of converting from bricks-and-mortar to e-commerce.

Confirming Activities

  • Research methods that Indigo can use to promote its e-commerce business. Prepare a chart outlining at least five methods they could use.

Helpful Internet Searches

Activities to do together

  • Identify three e-commerce “stores” and compare their features and navigation to see which you prefer and indicate why you prefer it.
  • Discuss what items you feel most comfortable purchasing online and which items you prefer to purchase in person. Why is that?