I just made an attempt to go shopping for a couple of things – one item I want for my smart phone and a Christmas gift for a friend. After two hours, three individual stores and a mall, I came back home empty handed. The first store had one of the items and it was overpriced. The second store had a similar item at a greater cost. The third store had neither item, and the mall had a limited selection of one item, again too costly.
After spending about 20 minutes perusing more options than I cared to consider, I made a purchase of the phone item for less than $6 compared to $30-35 in the stores. I decided to go a different route with the gift.
Some reports for online sales the Monday after Thanksgiving – Cyber Monday – claim about $1.5 billion was sold online that day. How many shoppers now go into retail stores to touch and feel and look over items, only to turn around and purchase them online at a much cheaper price?
Consumers rule. Tech savvy consumers rule more. It’s simple to use a smart phone app to scan an item’s bar code and immediately know which local stores have it in stock at what price and how that compares to the major online retailers like Amazon.
Customer service can play into this as well. At the first store I went to tonight, one teenager finally asked if I was finding what I needed, but he couldn’t help with the one question I had and took no initiative to find out or ask others on my behalf. At the second store that had a total of two workers and three customers, nobody even acknowledged my existence in the 5-10 minutes I was there (thanks, Sprint). The third store was a messy, chaotic Toys R Us with no workers roaming around to help. Only one person at one store in the mall actually initiated service and correctly answered my question.
Speed, cost, convenience, service – if the scales tilt in favor of online shopping, that’s where the public will go (as they already are).
Leap year lesson #353 is It’s no wonder why people shop online.