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How Consumers Shop Online and Offline
by STC Staff Writer
Consumer shopping habits have changed significantly in the last 25 years with the advent of online shopping. It was a bit slow to take off at first because of security and privacy concerns, but reputable sites like Amazon have now become almost essential for shoppers.
Researching Products – The internet has become much more product-friendly in relation to search. Google lists products at a range of prices. Amazon is like a product search engine these days, with millions of items in stock.
Researching Prices – But you don’t just have to shop at Amazon. You can see their prices and then compare them using Google and various other eCommerce sites.
Online Coupons – In some cases, you can find coupons available online to lower the price of the item even further.
Free Shipping – Free shipping is usually offered when the amount spent reaches a certain threshold, such as $49. With the Amazon Prime program, you pay around $99 per year but will get free shipping on all the items you buy from them directly (versus a third-party vendor in the Amazon marketplace). Prime will also get you a lot of free movies, TV shows, music, eBooks and more, so if you have a busy family that loves streaming, it’s a bargain.
Shop Online, Collect in Store – This option allows you to check if an item you would like right away is available in a nearby store. You can then buy it and take your receipt with you to pick up all your purchases. Walmart, BJ’s and Target offer this option.
Offline shopping entails going into a store to make a purchase. This makes sense in certain circumstances. Consumers can research products and prices online and then shop for them in person. Clothes and shoes that should be tried on are two examples of online and offline shopping working well together.
Shopping for Gifts = Online shopping is an ideal way to find the perfect gift for the people on your list. For example, imagine your daughter loves cat socks. You can research different kinds, buy your favorites, and then keep a record of what you’ve already purchased.
Top buying days online include Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Green Monday. Amazon also offers Black Friday in the summer, and Prime Day on July 16th. These are all great opportunities to save big on many of the things you need.
Shopping for Breakables – Sometimes the items a person needs to shop for are fragile, in which case it makes sense to buy the item in person rather than trying to have it shipped.
Shopping for Large Items – Shopping for large items such as appliances and furniture can be done online for price comparison, but for the most expensive items, it’s probably best to see them in person to make sure they are the quality and the dimensions you need.
For example, it might be useful to take a tape measure with you and a list of the dimensions of the space where you would like to put your new refrigerator. Measure carefully the model you have in mind to make sure it isn’t too wide, deep or tall. Similarly, size that new sofa you have an eye on. You might want the three-seater but there’s really only space for the love seat. And remember, you will still have to get it in the door once the delivery men from your local store bring it to your home.
Shopping habits change but these days, there is a need for both online and offline shopping.
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