Analyzing the Benefits of Shopping Online vs. In-Store
Online shopping means broader product availability and information, including the following:
- online product comparisons allow consumers to gauge pros and cons and make more informed decisions;
- consumer reviews and testimonials provide context to various items;
- custom products are easier to manage and order online, giving consumers a "crafted" experience without exorbitant prices;
- instant customer service tools such as live chat mean consumers’ questions can be answered immediately;
- Brands such as Target or Wal-Mart carry many times more items in their online stores than their brick-and-mortar counterparts; and
- email alerts and other notifications can be created to tell consumers when out-of-stock items are available.
The multifaceted benefits of online shopping don't signal the end of brick-and-mortar stores, but they do highlight how convenient the channel can be. Some service-oriented businesses or those offering complex products will still thrive in a brick-and-mortar world, as will companies that employ staff members who can offer additional value to the purchasing experience.