For every shopper that sings the merits of online shopping, there’s the customer that would rather spend money at local retail shops. But why? asks the online shopper. Don’t you like dragging items into a digital cart while wearing pajamas instead of, say, trying to wrangle a shopping cart through a brick-and-mortar store on a Saturday morning? About trying to find a decent parking space? To this the in-store shopper says: I still love shopping in the store much better than online. Let me count the ways.
1. Shopping is a visceral experience.
To borrow a line from Apocalypse Now: “There’s nothing like the smell of leather in the morning.” Or Chanel perfume in the afternoon. Or that lamb wool sweater you’ve been trying to decide all evening whether to buy or not. Feeling, smelling, and experiencing goods is the name of the game.
Online shopping and social media are fun, but there’s nothing truly social about either one. Shopping is about spending quality time with friends or family and asking if a pair of jeans look good or not. It’s not about snapping a selfie in a dressing room hoping someone will respond before the line gets too long.
3. The mall workout.
If you hate going the gym, walking through a mall is a great way to burn calories. Just bring your Fitbit or pedometer and walk on. Don’t have any of those gadgets? Use a site/app such as MyFitnessPal to calculate your shopping calories by plugging in the amount of time you spent “walking, leisurely pace.” So while sitting on the couch and ordering goods online may be convenient, it’s not helping you burn off the fast food you had for lunch.
4. No shipping frustration.
Sure, you may think you’re saving a little cash online, but once you factor in standard, express or overnight shipping – or spend more than you planned to for “free shipping” – how good does the online deal end up being? Not to mention the snowstorm on the other side of the country delaying the shipment for a week or so.
5. No product disappointment.
How many times have you ordered something online only to have it not fit, be the wrong color or look nothing like the picture on the computer screen?
6. You can use your favorite shopping apps.
Just because you leave your laptop at home to go shopping, it doesn’t mean you can’t leverage technology to find a good deal. There are several shopping apps to have in your back pocket, such as looking up in-store coupons on RetailMeNot, finding sales nearby on Find&Save and earning points every time you walk into a store with Shopkick.
7. Instant gratification.
One of the things fulfilled when you shop is instant gratification. There’s another economic term for this: transaction utility. You buy a product not because you need it, but because of the joy the purchase gives you. Clicking on a pair of online shoes just isn’t the same as carrying the shoes in a shopping bag.
Times may be changing, but local commerce isn’t going anywhere. Despite the never-ending wave of ecommerce buzz, online shopping only makes up 5 percent of retail in the U.S., while brick-and-mortar holds strong at 95 percent. Ask all those shoppers to count the ways in which they love their local retailers, and you’re going to end up with one long list.
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