I heard one industry analyst speculate that the future of retailing may be in a deliberate form of "showrooming"-- have brick and mortar to allow people to see the product if they wish, but expect most people to buy online.
I'm not completely sure how that works, for many products. If I can go see it in person, and I like it, why not just buy it then and there? But there is one product this makes perfect sense for: the automobile. I have been advocating this approach for years. It's just so much leaner.