Once upon a time finding the perfect fit for your shopping preferences would take at least a day’s hunt. The arrival of e-commerce has changed a lot in the past few years. Shopping has become more about mental involvement & less about physical exhaustion. But have the consumers really shifted completely from retail shopping to e-buying? If so, is it really the best option?
1) Capturing the market space:
The process of shopping can be broadly classified into two kinds:
a) Necessity shopping – Necessity shopping includes products we cannot live without like sugar, salt, grocery, etc. Availability of the required necessity products has hardly been a major problem for the retail shoppers.
b) Luxury shopping – Luxury shopping (like a watch, watch case, electronic, electronics accessory, etc.) has time and again forced us to go out of our ways to ensure we don’t regret our purchase. Interestingly, e-tailers have captured the market well in both categories. The e-commerce mainly competes in terms of ‘price’ for necessity goods and ‘variety’ for luxury goods.
2) Shift in Consumer shopping preference:
Online shopping may have made shopping easy, but it is hardly as satisfying as retail shopping, where the process is quite simple and straight-forward. Many people consider online shopping risky. But is it true in all cases? An online survey, carried out in 2014, reveals that over 80% of the online shoppers entered the community to buy luxury goods. Interestingly, only 13% of the community shifted to buying even the necessity products online. Clearly, online shopping has received a hearty welcome for luxury shopping. However, when it comes to shopping for necessity goods the consumers have not been so welcoming.
3) Buying luxury goods online: Pros and Cons
The number of consumers buying luxury goods online has increased. But is it really the best way to go about it?
1) Breaking out of the one-brand perception: In online shopping you get to explore several different brands as well as types at once. Example – if you wish to purchase a watch case by one brand, you get to compare it with a watch case offered by another brand. Retail stores can hardly offer this level of unrestricted browsing.
2) Return policy: At a retail store, you can try on a T-shirt and see if it fits you. But after purchase, you won’t get your money back even if you wish to return it. Online shopping offers what the retailers have hardly been able to provide – Freedom to return the product (within a certain deadline). Risky as it might seem to buy a product without getting to check it for real, almost all online shops provide a return option.
3) Convenient shopping: Imagine buying a product like a watch case at a retail shop. Should you go to a watch shop or a gift shop? Which shop is the best? How far is it? When can you go? It would be a pretty tedious task. But online shopping has changed the whole experience. You can go online at midnight. You can browse through hundreds of watch cases within a span of a few minutes and your watch case will arrive at your doorstep.
1) Strictly Virtual: At a retail shop you get to actually check one watch case from another watch case. You can be sure about which one you like better. But at an online store, you may compare hundred types of watch case brands but you will have to strictly depend on the information provided by the seller. Thus, online shopping could be tricky.
2) Immediate possession: If you buy an electronic product at a retail store, you will get it instantly. But if you place an order online, for the same product, you will have to wait for at least a day. One of the major hurdles that e-commerce faces today is the logistics and the average delivery time. While most major e-commerce websites offer a one-day delivery option (with some extra charges), it is different from the immediate ownership that the retailers offer.
Thus, we have seen some of the pros and cons of shopping luxury goods online. Even though the online market is yet to develop completely, it has done well in terms of giving more power to the consumers. Not to forget the relevance of quick, hassle-free shopping in today’s world.
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