Now web retailers will have to figure out how to compete with physical stores' advantages, including letting shoppers see and touch actual products, make easy returns, and obtain items the same day at no extra charge."
Slow death for most. Last 20 years most brands chose to transform to DTC. Developing amazing product and creating unforgettable experience is an enormous undertaking that small to medium size brands have no bandwidth to tackle. This is one of the reasons they are dying.To your question-can in-store technology help? Is there retail without it? Matching the right technology is always important but I find most retailers are failing on strategy, not execution.
Retail is a very broad term for such comparison. Many eCommerces are retail indeed.
But as others mentioned, retail is shifting and in fact, major retailers are smart enough to take the next move. They have billions of dollars in the bank and they know where to put their money to not get bankrupt.
Smaller retailers from another side have been taking action earlier and start moving to eCommerce. That's how services like Shopify, Lightspeed, and Squarespace growing their customer base.