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What’s Your Shopping Preference? Online or In-Store



If you are  honest, you will admit that the first option that probably comes to you mind when you think of buying a new shoe or dress, for instance, is buying it on Jumia, Konga, Asos, Zara or even Amazon. It just seems easier. You do not need to physically fight through thousands of other humans to get to from the local market or departmental stores.

You do not have to haggle and endure the bad breath of the seller, who is trying to convince you that a clearly hideous shoe design is your prefect fit. You do not have to endure the nagging fear that you can find it cheaper at another stall  if you just explore the market more or haggled with more sellers. Also, you can easily just return it if you change your mind about it and have your money remitted without much ado. No?

With the growing popularity of online shopping, more and more people are starting to shun physical or in-store shopping. They would rather take the risk and input their credit card number on a website to buy an item they are not even sure of, than walk into the store. Despite this, however, there are a few who are averse to the idea of  becoming slaves to the “modern times” and “capitalism”. They prefer to stick to traditional in-store shopping. And they actually, genuinely find in-store shopping to be more satisfying. Why do they feel this way?

First, shopping in a proper store as opposed to a virtual one gives customers the opportunity to really look at the the merchandise they are buying.  You are able to check for quality and fit. For instance, if you are looking to buy a perfume, you can smell it first to know if it really is a blend of the right scents you are looking for and if it is lasting on the skin. Also you can check correctly to know that it is original, before you make the purchase. Likewise if you are buying clothes, you can try them on and prance around in the changing room checking for quality and mobility before you actually buy it. In-store shoppers already know that the quickest way to know a trouser or low quality is to stretch the legs wide apart when trying it on. A ripping sound will let you know the stitched are weak.

When you shop in-store, you have the chance inspect the store and know exactly the condition of the place where your item is coming from (this is very important in the case of food items). Yes, with online shopping, you can read reviews, watch product videos to figure out if you are making the right choice, but how do you know that it will work for you just because it appealed to many consumers? In-store, you can ask as many questions you want to ask about a product and even better, you have the chance to bargain and haggle for a price sometimes, even lower than average selling price for the product.  While bargaining, there is a chance you will create a bond with the seller, initiating trust and guarantee which can make you feel even better about purchase. You are confident that you can easily just return/ exchange the item without delay.

As per promo and sales which online shopping is well known for, there are actually a lot of promo packages that are only available in-store. And in the case of items cleared for sales, you can access and secure it instantly , as there is no risk of “faster fingers”. You do not have to go through the pain of shopping and during check-out, you find that people who were faster online have already paid purchased the items on sales and it has run out. In just minutes!  It sucks. Online shopping also comes with delivery charges and you have to wait a few days to have your goods delivered to you. In-store shopping means can go home with your products…. especially if small enough for you to carry it.

Despite these clear advantages of in-store shopping, there is no denying that it can be tiring visiting a store just to find a specific product. Yes, it could make sense when you are buying a lot of items at the same time from the same store, but really, searching through a large store (even when you can ask questions) can be stressful. It is even particularly worse when you realize that most of the items are not available at the time. You end up leaving empty handed. Basically, you waste time, energy and transport money/fuel for nothing. In the case where you find the item/product, you find that there is a limited variety or options… unlike online where you can access endless shopping websites, and the options are boundless.

In cases where you are determined to visit several stores in search of an item, you quickly find yourself  under pressure, because you want to see everything and visit every shop. Unlike with online shopping where you can easily just filter and sort the items, or even use a site that compares product prices, you are forced to take mental note of different costs. Chances are that you’d forget the prices you’ve seen in the previous shops, so you can’t compare them on your own. Imagine a situation where you are getting ready to be married and you have travelled to Dubai to buy the perfect wedding gown, only to find after the two days trip that you still cannot find the prefect gown within your budget and you have to fly back home empty-handed or with a compromise. The flight money paid, the hotel bills…it can be heart breaking.

In monetary terms, same product may be even more expensive in-store than online. Also, while you have a cart to put all the items you are buying and wheel them around, check out can be tedious. From long lines to rude cashiers, irate customers, heavy push carts/baskets,  you may end up being frustrated; especially during the holidays when a lot of people are rushing to get bargains and are willing to get into an argument just to have the item.

Shopping – whether grocery shopping, cloth shopping or even service booking – is something that has been a part of our lives for as long as we know, and will continue to be part of it. Whether you choose to make your purchases in-store or online you have to be vigilant and weigh the pros and cons, to ensure you are spending your hard earned money in the best way.

Photo CreditDreamstime



    July 19, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    I struggle with this online versus in-store! Using Amazon, i am okay and sometimes comfy. But i look thru specifications, sizes, comments, feedback and all what not. Haven’t been able to do that with either Jumai or Konga. Now with the instagram sponsored fashion sales, fear grips me all the time. I haven’t brought myself to buying anything from them and when i do, i am never fascinated by the item. Going in-store, hmmm… while i am a loyal customer, bringing 25-30k out to pay for an item is always very hard! I would rather pay 2ice, but i always pay on time, so i am not a debtor, so honestly i dont know what truly works for me! Lol,,,

  2. gbaskelebo

    July 21, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    Jumia’s QC is terrible! bought one breathable brown pair of shoes recently and the quality was just too low, would not have bought if I had physically seen and touched it., I am fully back to physical shopping.

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