Purchasing new clothes/goods/equipment is an essential part of modern human culture, and is something that all of us do, be it often or occasionally. Whenever we shop, we check out all the available products, compare our options and then purchase the one that suits our requirements best.
In a physical store, you can touch, hold and feel the products and get a sense of how much you like a certain item. Then why should you shop online at all?
For starters, online shopping has made it easier for you to check out all the best products in one, single place. It is not only reliable but also saves time for everybody. The best part is that you can compare and choose from across a wide range of products.
Then again, nothing can compare to the process of actually holding and getting to know the item you want to buy. Getting a feel of the article of purchase is almost therapeutic in one sense, and going shopping is something that all of us (especially the girls) enjoy doing as it’s a great way to spend time alone or with friends/family.
So which is better?
Quality Time – Shopping at a store lets you get close to your potential assets and shop at your own leisure. You get to examine a variety of choices and buy the one that you like most…
Touch & Feel – As I mentioned before, getting to know the product you’ll be buying is almost therapeutic and allows to you inspect the products closely for any well-hidden damages or defects. This way, you know that you won’t be getting any surprises after making your purchase.
Salesman – So, you’ve just searched the entire store and found two very different, but equally great items and can’t decide which to pick (even if your life depended on it). You can’t get google it because your mobile internet connection sucks, but that’s okay! The in-house salesman can tell you about each item and help you make an informed decision.
Instant Purchase – You don’t have to wait for days to get the product. Once you choose the right product suitable for yourself, make the payment and take it home.
Return/replace – Let’s say you’re not satisfied with your purchase, you can always go back to the store to get a replacement or refund. No more waiting ‘3-5 business days for the amount to appear as a credit in your next billing statement.’
Exhaustion – You might spend the whole shopping day and still not find what you are looking for. Shopping for long hours is fun, but only as long as you find something worth taking home!
Expensive – Most physical stores don’t accept online coupons. Sometimes, you may also end up paying more for an item than what it’s worth. Depending on the size of the item, transportation can be an additional cost too.
Crowds – Shopping in a crowded place with sweaty people can be an introvert’s (or a germaphobe’s) worst nightmare (especially if you hate shopping and are being forced to tag along). Nobody wants to rub elbows while waiting in queue at the billing register.
Range of Choices – From clothing to food items and car parts to scientific equipment, you have the power to choose from across a wide range of options. There isn’t a need to visit multiple stores each time.
Shop 24/7 – Who cares if it’s 2 AM and you’re in your pajamas? No more restraining orders for shopping in your underwear!
Secure Payment – Doesn’t matter if you have a MasterCard or VISA. Online stores accept all sorts of payment methods including credit/debit cards, digital wallets and some even allow you to pay later!
Tip: If you use digital coupons aka coupon codes, you can even get discounts or avail cash-back offers to pay less and buy more. If you don’t know where to find relevant coupons, Curated Deals is a great place to get started. They have all sorts of discounts deals and verified coupons that you can use to purchase your favourite products at the best prices.
Quality Issue – Since you cannot touch and feel the product, it might be difficult for you to get a reliable product delivered to you each time. 1 out of 20 customers claim to be dissatisfied with their online purchase.
Size and Fitting – The size and fit might be a challenge in the case of garments since you cannot try them before buying. However, most online stores allow you to return items of clothing within a stipulated time period (not including inner-wear).
Waiting Period – The hardest part of shopping online is waiting for your order to be delivered. Although you can select a shipping speed, you have no control over the delivery process and delays due to weather.
Online and offline shopping, both have their advantages and disadvantages, so one cannot be said to be better than the other. Large brands have a big online presence, but that urn at the antique store around the corner? You can never get that online.
So don’t look at these options as an either/or choice. Shoppers expect both to be pleasant, and companies are starting to cater to both audiences.
For example, online shopping giant Amazon acquired supermarket chain Whole Foods little over a year ago to open its first ‘brick-and-mortar’ store. Seeing how brands are starting to follow this trend, it’s safe to say that online and offline shopping are both here to stay!