How many of you regularly make purchases online? But is it better than the old fashioned way of shopping? For me, I find online shopping to be extremely convenient, in that I can do it at any time. But I can get impatient as I feel it takes too long for delivery. From a time perspective, online shopping literally buys me time. But what happens when I get it, and it’s not quite right? Maybe it doesn’t fit. Or it’s damaged. I then have to take the time to return the item. And is that a better use of my time?
- You don’t have to fight with people at the mall and you don’t have to worry about parking. This can be especially stressful during the holidays.
- There’s a better chance that they will have your item in stock. Or at least know when they’re going to get it. Many of the stores that I shop at don’t seem to know when the new stock is going to come in. Or what’s coming in. Which can make it difficult to actually purchase an item. Usually, the online store will tell you how many are left in stock, or when there will be more in stock.
- You can shop any time! Sure, have that glass of wine and go to town. Just kidding, shopping while drinking might not be the best thing. But you can do it from the comfort of your couch or bed. You can do it at 3 am, or when you get home from work. You don’t have to worry about the store actually being open.
- The parcel is delivered right to your door! In most cases, you don’t have to go anywhere to pick it up.
- As I mentioned, you might not be happy with the product. Which means, you have to return it. That adds additional time that could be spent in any other way.
- Shipping costs. Yes, you might have to spend some money on gas to go to the mall, but how much are you paying in shipping costs? Or are you spending more in order to qualify for “free” shipping? If the minimum order for free shipping is $50, and you only have $25 worth of goods, what do you do? If you answered that you add another $25 worth of goods to your cart, you might not be saving any money. And is this why online retailers have a minimum for free shipping?
- It doesn’t fit! I was recently at a clothing store, and I was trying to find a jacket. I saw one online and decided to go into the store because I wasn’t sure what size I needed. They didn’t have it in the store, and the sales associate told me to just order it online. I explained that I prefer to try things on to make sure that they fit properly. She then told me to order 2 or 3 different sizes and then return what doesn’t fit. What if I didn’t like the way it looked on me, but it still fit? What an incredible waste of time and possibly money.
- The parcel is delivered to your door… except when your mailbox isn’t big enough, or there are security issues. Some couriers will not leave parcels at your door. I love the ones that will. But if they don’t, they will take the parcel to their office and you have to pick it up. Sometimes that’s on the other side of town. And their hours are always limited.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate online shopping just as much as the next person, but I’m not convinced its actually better. I’m not sure that I’m seeing an advantage.
What we are seeing is a change in how stores are catering to their customers. In the example I mentioned above, I can order items online and have them shipped to the store for free. If I did purchase 2 or 3 sizes of the same outfit, I could then try it on in the store, and automatically return the sizes that don’t fit. I can see how this might be beneficial, but I honestly see it as a time waster. We are also starting (yes, this is just starting where I live) to be able to order your groceries online and then pick them up at the store. A store associate brings your groceries out to your car for you.
These concepts are incorporating the idea of online shopping with the physical store itself. With both options you can find deals that you might not have considered. The case for online shopping is a positive one, but buyer beware and watch out for those shipping fees.