> Maplin, once known for its well-trained staff, began to lose a reputation for technical knowledge and so its unique selling point started to become less apparent
This is the case with all the brick & mortar stores that I can see. There's now zero training in a business's basic line of product or work.
Radio Shack used to have staff knowledgeable enough to suggest component values, or at least a relevant Forrest Mims book.
Barne's & Noble used to have staff that could actually suggest books based on what you said you liked. Now they just pound the hell out of you to BUY a loyalty card.
Best Buy staff used to be able to point you in the direction of PC video cards. Now there's things locked in cabinets that I can't actually buy, like SSDs, VR headsets, cameras, and drones.
Sears sales staff used to be able to actually tell you the pro and con of buying a particular appliance or tool and the difference between this model and that one, other than the price.
There's no longer any "added value" to going to a physical store, other than the tiny, tiny chance they might actually stock something you know you already want.