Online Vs Offline Shopping: Then and Now
The online shopping has drastically changed how people shop. For shopaholics, it may be a boon as all you have to do is surf online, add it to the cart and check out. Compared to offline shopping, you lack the distinct advantage of trying out your outfit, solve whatever queries you have with an executive or even check out things.
Let us examine online shopping. If you are reading this, chances are you have heard of numerous e-commerce websites like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, AJIO, TATA Cliq, etc. Amazon – by far rules the roots when it comes to shopping. So, I will talk about shopping from Amazon point of view.
Online shopping in the initial days:
Previously, shoppers like me would stay away from online shopping. I was well-versed with online fraud and still am. That was one of the primary reasons – the constant fear of having a fraud committed on your card kept me away. I would not even pay my bills online! I was paranoid!
I gave up my fear when I had to, ultimately, give it a try.
Online shopping was a relatively new thing. What you can buy offline, you have the distinct advantage of buying the same online at a lesser price. You may also find what you want online with ease as compared to offline.
For instance, I was checking out the price of 64 GB MicroSD card. On Amazon,
the best prices hovered around ₹700. Compare this to the one in a physical store it costs ₹950.
Online shopping has other advantages as well. You get things that are not available in a physical store easily. The more unique the thing – the harder it is to get in a physical store. Some things are also subject to a specific location.The Advantage
Offline shopping during the initial days:
Mumbai or rather any mega-city is the hub of things that are readily available at strategic locations. For instance, in my city, the cost of certain goods was not available at an affordable price point. Other occasions would lead to the same product with lower quality with little to no satisfaction. There are still occasions when the shopkeeper would suggest us to buy it from Mumbai.
Here in India, especially in Mumbai – where I live, a place Crawford market comes to my mind.
Crawford market is far from where I live. Shoppers throng this place because of the availability, reasonable price and better quality of goods. Some street vendors sell things which are rarely available in shops with a price difference and no compromise in quality. I bought my confetti pouch from such a vendor. If you purchase in bulk, they reduce the per-unit price as well.
The disadvantage is that it is very far and may take an entire day. Car parking is nor secure. There are no dedicated car parking areas as well. You can go there if and only if you have no other option, are desperate or want to kill some time.
Enter Shopping Malls:
Nowadays, with the extensive proliferation of Malls – with all the brands under one roof and the presence of entertainment and food courts has cut down travelling drastically.
Previously, too, shoppers would go to Malls in other cities to get branded and luxurious goods. Sometimes, global brands set shop only in dedicated cities with a decent presence of affluent communities. Now, however, a reputed mall would make sure such brands set shop under their roof.
Phoebe and I end up buying at least one thing, have something or both when we frequent the mall. Of course, watching movies is a different thing and forms a separate itinerary. We mostly end up catching the last show of the day.
Transitioning to online shopping:
The online marketplace has many competitors. Amazon was well known even before they had launched in India. I knew the existence of such a marketplace due to my online work which needed considerable research. Surfing on Amazon was one of them.
Some somethings are unique to online shopping. For instance, I have bought outdated thing like DDR 1, 2 and 3 RAMs online. I have bought them twice from Amazon at a lesser price. Then, there is the phone cover for my 3-plus-year-old phone (Redemi Note 4). I did not get the phone cover online. I got it from a physical store because I did not want to wait. Had I the option, I would have bought it online.
Buying things online may be restricted to the things that are either not available in the physical store, the vast price differences, limited availability, lack of brand awareness and unconvincing quality.
Brand awareness is nothing something one may look for when buying in a physical store. When one is buying online, he or she can do a little research themselves.
Tell me, how many times were you aware of brands on Amazon by doing a little research? It brings me to another benefit of online shopping – unintentional brand awareness.
What are the things I prefer in offline shopping vs online one?: Apparels, shoes, groceries and decor. I like to remain old fashioned in certain things! It would be wrong to attribute it to old-fashioned.
I love to try my outfits in the trial room. I want to touch and feel the material and make my buying decision then and there. Online shopping cannot achieve this. Order for clothes online, try it out, if it does not fit, get it exchanged – this may take up to a few days. Chances are you may obtain the right product the first time. How many of you come under this category? Let me know in the comments.
I feel there is a good number of people who buy online offline. Most of them do both. I fall under the ‘both’ category.
Online shopping offers many benefits, and one cannot deny the advantage of physical shopping. Physical shopping is here to stay as long as there are people to buy them. To a certain extent, they are also dependent on one another neither can one exist without the other. What is available online may not be available in a physical store and vice versa.