Professor Lanna Broyles
Online shopper, an in-store shopper or a little bit of both?
Online shopping and in-store shopping come with Positives and Negatives. Over the past decade, seems online shopping has become the preferred option. Consumers are drawn to the idea of shopping without leaving the comfort of their homes, some still prefer in-store shopping when purchasing products such as clothing, electronics and especially groceries. There are Pros and Cons to both online shopping and in-store shopping, as you read on I will discuss when it might a suitable idea to shop instore and when it makes sense to shop online.
Online shopping is the more convenient of the two approaches. When shopping online consumers have the option to shop from the comfort of their homes and click away at many different products from clothes to groceries. You can rapidly browse multiple sites to compare items and costs to find the best value. But this approach can come at a cost. With online shopping the consumer can play a guessing game on the product they select. Some clothing, such as shoes or dresses, can’t rely on a tape measure to truly know how they’ll look and feel. How can the purchaser tell a quality product based on just the pictures and customer reviews? If you go to the mall or grocery store, you have a much better grasp on what you are purchasing. It’s a hands-on experience and the shopper can feel, test, and compare prices to determine if it meets your needs and expectations.
While in-store shopping requires much more effort on the consumers’ behalf, you know what you are buying in real time and go home with the product. Online shoppers wait for the product to be shipped to their home so, is it really that much more convenient? Purchasers seem to still take the time to go to the retail stores in person and eliminate the waiting game. Ultimately, in-store shopping has less unpredictability.
Security, an important concern for consumers’, not everyone is completely comfortable with the notion of using a credit card online. Now and days, numerous programming tools have reduced the possibility that your information will be ill-used. None the less, there is a chance that your credit card number might be stolen when you shop online. From the aspect of security, there is an advantage in shopping in person.
When shopping online the purchaser may have questions. Most websites offer an email address or a 1-800 number (which is usually an automated phone service) It could take days to receive a response and what good does that do when you need the information immediately? In contrast, when you go to Best Buy and see a TV you absolutely love but you are not quite sure if it has all the capabilities you want, a customer service representative will answer as many questions as you need to help you make an informed purchasing decision. No waiting for an answer, it is given to you when you needed it. In 2013, a study was conducted by retail strategy firm WD Partners, in which they found that nearly 80 percent of respondents said instant gratification was the key benefit to buying in person. Further, 75 percent stated the experience of human connection was the reason they bought in store versus online CITATION Gra17 l 1033 (Gramigna).
The convenience factor is a key benefit to online shoppers, but the lack of personal contact with the retailers makes it a lonely experience. You may be able to click and buy but you must wait for the delivery and as already mentioned, no substantial customer service is presented to the shopper. The old-fashioned way may not be as convenient as online shopping, but in-store shopping offers more intangible value when it comes to customer service.
Particularly when it comes to shopping for items such as groceries, deciding whether to shop in-store or online can make a huge difference, News-Press.com published “Online shopping vs. in-store – the new retail battlegrounds: Views, in which they surveyed people about their thoughts and opinions on the subject. John Naylor a member of the editorial board stated, “With the advent of online shopping several years ago, our family opts for retail shopping online almost all the time.” He continues, “Online grocery shopping is another matter. We have not tried these new services yet and are unsure about availability, substitutions, delivery times, delivery charges, minimum orders and product source. Groceries are groceries, but I am not sure I want someone else picking out my meat and produce.” CITATION ODo17 l 1033 (O’Donnell). I agree with Mr. Naylor on the groceries aspect. Most products on the open market can be purchased in store or online, but do you trust a stranger to pick out the best and freshest fruits, vegetables and meats? I sure do not. I once shopped online for my groceries through Winn-Dixie. It was the last. My fruit was bad or damaged, and small. The meats looked like the last one on the shelf and instead of contacting me about the poor selection the “shopper” threw it in the cart, even though it was nearly expired. I trusted a stranger to shop the way I would for food products, which was my mistake. To the minimum-wage employee choosing my ground beef and bananas, my grocery list wasn’t about freshness or health, it was a rush job to collect the items on the list and close out the delivery job as fast as possible.
Online shopping is convenient for most retail products. Big-box stores such as Wal-Mart offer online shopping and delivery of products they sell, except for items like fire arms and deliver the next day if applicable, which I see being a success because shopping at Wal-Mart can turn your day from being decent to unscrupulous in a second. Definitely a different experience taking a shopping trip personally to Wal-Mart. House hold Items such as cleaning products, paper towels, toilet paper, cups and other house hold commodities. I would never have them deliver food to my home and trust it was selected to my satisfaction. In-store shopping is the safest way to ensure you receive the freshest items and at the prices you are willing to pay. Online shopping is picked more frequently in our society but some things are better handpicked by the shopper themselves. Same for clothes, some consumers may have unique body types. The clothing may look great on the model, but when the item finally arrives, the clothing may not fit the way you pictured it would. On top of that is the hassle and cost of shipping it back to the merchant. Old-school rack browsing is my cup of tea because I know exactly what I am buying. Groceries and clothes are two things I would never recommend a consumer to shop for online.
While buying online versus buying in-store is different one isn’t necessarily better than the other for the merchants and consumers. Recognizing the different values each holds in relationship to convenience, quality control and customer service, the method is ultimately up to the consumer. A well-informed decision may be guided by three questions: How badly do I need this right now? Do I need to make sure it fits properly? Is it cheaper at the store or online? The answer will govern which avenue might be better. Online shopping, of course, is more convenient than driving to the store, but in-store shopping is the better option for groceries, clothing and electronics because an employee cannot choose these items as well as the end user. In the end, perhaps in-store is the better route to keep your purchases safe and avoid any unnecessary aggravation.