The 1995 Hollywood movie ‘The Net’ had an amazing opening scene in which, Sandra Bullock was shown ordering pizza online; the technology depicted was way ahead of its time. It was like the makers of the movie had a time machine to travel and see into the future.
Now it is common practice to order all kinds of commodities and services online. It was quite saddening to watch Amazon.com the online bookstore putting thousands of old and traditional bookshops out of business in the late 90s’.
Just like how the department store juggernauts like Walmart made like difficult for small stores many years ago, now online retail giants like Amazon are giving brick and mortar stores a run for their money. In the present time, consumers have a myriad of options to choose where to buy from that it often is overwhelming and painful to decide.
Shopping is a different experience for each person; for some, it's exhausting and time-consuming, while some find it relaxing and enjoyable. So the question of online shopping vs. store shopping is differently answered by each. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of each shopping method.
You don’t need to move a muscle, just a few clicks of the mouse is enough to place an online order. That means no need to waste money on fuel, worry about parking space, spend more time making store visits, deal with over-aggressive salespeople and of course you can avoid the jitters caused by traffic. You can be in the comfort of your living room and order away.
With brick and mortar retail outlets the options are limited to their inventory. Let's look at an example of buying a book; the online store will likely have all the books written by an author; thus you can conveniently purchase all items under one platform rather than exhausting yourself by making multiple store visits.
You are also not limited to certain geography; you could buy a fashion accessory or electronic gadget which is not available in your country. Ordering it online is easy, and sometimes you may not have to pay for shipping also.
We often get to see better deals online than brick and mortar stores and price comparison on products is also very easy online. You may be able to sweeten the deal more with the use of online shopping coupon that will reduce the price further when applied.
Online shopping vendors have the advantage of not needing to maintain a storefront, and they don’t need to have a bunch of people on payroll to run the place. So its quite a direct business model and that is why online prices tend to be lesser. Having that said, you often get to see very aggressive pricing campaigns run by retail stores to compete with e-commerce websites.
Online shoppers get to see the rating and reviews of the product given by users like yourself. Reviews help to know the item’s place in the market and also to avoid ordering the wrong item by mistake. We can also figure out if a particular product is popular or mainstream by looking at the number of ratings and reviews. It is advised to opt for sellers with a high rating in the case of shopping portals with multiple sellers; if the rating is high, then it shows the seller’s reliability and authenticity of the product sold by them.
The online shopping vs. store shopping debate has an easy winner when you are looking to send gifts to friends and family. By placing an order online, you can have the item gift wrapped and get it delivered straight to receiver’s address which is hassle-free than gifting in-person.
It is evident from studies that in-store shoppers end up spending more than they intended. That’s because the shops want you to spend more and the products are strategically placed around the store to tempt you to buy. Although it can happen online, you can easily practice restraint as the tiny images of clothes, food, etc. are not that tempting when compared to the touch and feel the experience in a store. By reading this, you may be interested in starting a new venture in online. So here are some online business ideas that can change your life.
Some of us old school when buying clothes and accessories, we prefer going to a store and try on the things to see how it fits on our bodies. Buying from a brick and mortar store after trying on helps to find the right size and fit. Although most things purchased online can be returned to the vendor, it is a time-consuming process plus you may have to pay the shipping cost to send it back.
If you need something urgently, the best option is in-store purchase as online purchases will take time to ship and deliver at the address; not to mention the occasional delays caused during the process. Even though the e-commerce buying process has greatly advanced since the start-up days, occasional hiccups still occur when you receive the wrong item by mistake. Chances of not getting what you paid for is minimal when buying from a storefront.
I agree that the user experience provided by e-commerce websites is greatly improved, sometimes we do miss the human element during shopping in the form of a friendly opinion or a good suggestion. Studies show that buyers prefer a personalized shopping experience and that you will get from well trained courteous staff at brick and mortar stores. Even though most e-commerce websites have a live chat and phone support, it still is not the same as conversing with an authorized staff in person.
Old school way of making a quick run to the store is the fastest way to buy what you need. All you got to do is get to the store and have the means to transport the merchandise back to your house.
For those who consider fit of clothing, or accessory as the supreme thing, brick and mortar stores work best. If it is one size too small or big, you can easily swap and find the right thing. You can also touch, smell and see if the local produce you are buying is indeed fresh and to your liking.
Studies show that people frequent the brick and mortar stores which provide good service and customer experience. It proves we like to have a personalized experience when shopping; at times we could use the suggestions of the sales personnel to buy the right product as per our needs.
Whether it’s a laptop or home printer, it feels good to have the trust that we can take the broken device to the store’s service center to try to fix it. It is how a lot of storefronts create loyalty among customers towards their brand.
You may have to spend almost half the day on shopping, which is not possible, especially for working professionals. You will also need to spend money on fuel, and drive through stressing traffic, finding parking space, working your way through a crowd and lugging shopping bags.
Unlike e-commerce websites, brick and mortar storefronts will have a limited inventory as they need physical space to store. Most e-commerce websites save on storage space by procuring the commodity as per orders placed.
Whether it a fun dress for a costume party or the bold colored curtain you always wanted, you can buy from the safety of your house, without anyone knowing; whereas people may stare at or judge you when buying from a store.
Online shopping vs. store shopping is a relevant topic of today's world, but in reality, many things need to be factored in before deciding which mode is better. Online buying will be an enjoyable experience only if the website got strong branding; products are easy to find, and the user experience is engaging enough.
People are looking for unique and personalized buying experience, and don’t mind spending the extra dollar if it brings value to them regardless of the shopping method.