Is online selling still facing near-term profitability challenges or is it inherently unprofitable in its current set-up? What are the biggest profitability hurdles for online retailers?

Interactive Edge’s CEO, Zel Bianco comments, featured on RetailWire’s Braintrust :

You need to interact with the brand and with real people to get things done. Online is fast and sometimes easy but not always. Case in point. My daughter is getting married soon and the guys are all ordering from an online tuxedo company which sends them to you based on an online survey. I simply don’t have time to screw around with sending them back for additional alterations as the tuxedo needs to be perfect for this occasion. I decided to purchase at a physical store where I interacted with a very knowledgeable salesperson who took good care of me.

I also shopped for bow ties online, and my wife ordered a few and we found they don’t quite fit, and guess what? She is so used to buying online that she assumed they would be able to be returned. On closer inspection, she discovered that there was no return policy mentioned on their website and a few e-mails have received no response from the bow tie company.

I think I’ll purchase one from the same place I bought my tuxedo. Is online profitable? For companies that don’t let you return an item — you bet!

Read the entire article from RetailWire: