How About Shop Online, Buy Offline?

from the is-that-so-wrong...? dept

A year or so ago, people tore me apart for suggesting that there were times that I researched products in stores, and later bought them online, even though, it turned out that plenty of people do so. Now, a new study says the opposite is true. A lot of people research online and then buy offline. I don’t see anything wrong with either option. There’s nothing wrong with researching what you want to purchase and then buying it where you feel most comfortable. I’ve certainly done both things at times. However, I’m wondering if the people who were so upset at shopping offline and buying online are equally upset at the opposite situation?

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Comments on “How About Shop Online, Buy Offline?”

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drteknikal (profile) says:


There are times when I do my shopping physically, then buy virtually, and times when I do the opposite.

The first case is usually a matter of inadequate information online, or needing a subjective impression of the physical object, not just its specs. Like needing to know the layout of the jack panel, not just the enumeration of jacks, or seeing how a dynamic picture adjusts to room conditions rather than reading over the algorithms.

The second case is often reserved for large, heavy objects, or with things I think I might need to return. It’s often cheaper to pay a slightly higher price at brick-and-mortar retail than to pay shipping charges for something really heavy. If I think I might have to take something back, especially if it is also big or heavy, I’ll look at getting it locally at retail so I can just drive it back if there’s a problem.

Differently put, I think the answer is that price is not the only consideration, there are often logistic issues that influence where to purchase.

Adam Jackson (user link) says:

when buying offline is your only choice...

I like to buy products online for obvious reasons but when I need something last minute [birthday gift, whatever] and absolutely can’t wait for something to be shipped to me from an online retailer, it’s nice to be able to browse local store inventories from the web.
[insert shameless plug here]
I’ve been working on a site to help fix this problem – It’s only in San Francisco right now but it allows visitors to search for products on the site that are all available at local SF retailers. Saves a bunch of trips to stores looking for what you need (and helps support our local SF shops!)

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