A large range of businesses are opting to close physical stores and sell solely online. Why? Because a great deal of the population continue to buy online, whether they choose to do so for all shopping or just for particular products. However there are many reasons why offline shopping will remain popular in the years to come.
Peace of Mind
Market research indicates that the primary reason Brits prefer to buy offline is because there is great value in holding, touching, and seeing the exact item that you intend to buy, before you buy it. It’s similar to the eBook reader conundrum: these readers are compact and convenient, yet they can’t replace the look, the smell, and the feel of a real paperback. When buying high value items such as electronics, it makes sense to buy offline to gain peace of mind that the product is correct and in a suitable condition for use.
The internet has come a long way since the 1990s, and it’s now very easy for shoppers to protect themselves online, but it is still considered riskier to buy online than it is in store for a number of reasons. Firstly, despite security measures, there have been numerous accounts of UK retailers having their customer’s credit card data hacked. Risks are greatly reduced when using an in-store PDQ machine.
Often, it seems like there are some great deals to be had online, and there are, but it’s important to check out hidden costs. While some retailers offer discounts for buying online rather than in store, the hidden postage and packaging charges frequently make this saving redundant. It can be even worse if buying from abroad, as even though the item may be less expensive than a UK equivalent at face value, postage and customs charges can really add up. This is especially true of large or heavy items. Despite first impressions, it sometimes makes more sense to buy offline.
Remember when organisations would quote 28 days for delivery? That’s practically unheard of now. In fact, delivery of 3 to 5 working days is considered lengthy today, with more and more businesses offering next day, and even same day delivery. However, unless you live in large cities where these services are offered, and are willing to pay the price, it’s usually going to be at least a day or two before the item is in your hands. Need something urgently? Then it’s probably better to hop in the car and drive to a local store to pick it up.
Support Local Businesses
Local stores may not have the finances, the time, the expertise, or even the inclination to create a website that offers online shopping, so those wanting to support independent retailers in their community should look to their local high street.
Is It Becoming Easier To Shop Offline?
When it became commonplace for shops to accept credit cards, it was thought that shopping couldn’t get any easier, no more having to dash to the cash point, no more having to fumble around with change, but the real convenience came when PDQ machines were introduced. As the name, Process Data Quickly, suggests, it takes these terminals just 3 seconds to process a transaction, and they’re currently the safest method of credit card payment processing available and plenty of businesses are still accepting card payments face to face.
This article was written by Ellie, she is a small business and retail blogger from London.