Photo: Flickr / roblawton
We recently ran an article about why shopping for electronics in-store is a waste of money. But that’s not entirely true.
First of all when you shop at brick and mortar stores you get to try out the product, and you know exactly what you’re going to get. When you buy online, on the other hand, you won’t always receive what you expected.
Second you get to talk to a real expert. For many, especially the less-Internet-savvy, this is a more effective way of getting an honest product evaluation. Indeed a recent study found that the most prolific reviewers on Amazon tend to receive compensation from the companies they review.
As for “showrooming” or price-comparing products in-store then online before you buy, consider the long term consequences:
Big box retailers have already cut staff to stay in the black, making it harder for customers to navigate the floor and find what they’re looking for. Sales people could either get more aggressive, or if big box retailers get desperate enough, disappear entirely. For those who are used to, and even enjoy, shopping in-store, the endeavour could get a lot more frustrating.
Beyond that, there other problems with shopping online. Let’s start with drunk shopping and the temptation to spend enough to hit that free shipping limit, which isn’t always free to begin with. Then let’s work our way up to overspending in general and issues of storing your credit card information in the cloud and possibly putting it up for grabs when a site’s security gets compromised. This has happened time and time again, despite even the strongest brands’ efforts to prevent it. Just ask Sony.
All of this isn’t to say that buying electronics or other goods in-store is better, but it’s something consumers should think about. Big box retailers have a long road ahead of them to revamp their business strategy. But when it comes to making savvy purchases, price doesn’t always trump all.