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12/12/13

Spot O(Line): Internet retail heavyweights have strong hand in holiday pandemonium

Ask anyone who shops almost exclusively for gifts online, and they'll spend countless hours convincing you how smart of a shopper they are in comparison to those in store suckers.
Sifting between the regality in their rhetoric and obnoxious delivery, and there is plenty of truth to what they're saying.
Actually, a lot of truth.
So is shopping online smarter than in the store?
Online shoppers tout convenience as the main ingredient that makes their way much better than the alternative: long lines, pushy shoppers, annoyed retail attendants and feeling remarkably lethargic after a long day at a shopping mall.

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Instead, those savvy online connoisseurs can't help but sit back, relax and pat themselves on their back while they make a multitude of purchases while lounging on the couch. The only relaxation in store shoppers tend to enjoy is when they finally finish their shopping and make it home in one piece.
Those weary shoppers, the ones who love their brick and mortar, physical retail stores, argue that online shopping is fine in principle but it's the post gift giving repercussions that concern them most.
What happens if something doesn't fit?
What if the item you ordered isn't exactly as described?
How about a return policy that doesn't make you want to rip your hair out?
All great questions, but online retailers reek of preparedness with all of those concerns, especially when it pertains to returning items. Most returns are simple, fast and devoid of any haggling about policy, shipping costs or restocking fees.
On a larger scale, the rise and prominence of online shopping, one could easily argue, is what spawned such sales oriented events like "Black Friday" and truly forced tangible retailers to step up their game, offer better pricing, customer service and quantity.
Best Buy, for example, is the quintessential electronics retailer, a global giant in the marketplace that dominates in the world of laptops, smart phones and big screen televisions. Consumers lapped up the loveable blue and gold heavyweight, but soon turned their attention to Amazon.com and its propensity to not only offer the same products but better pricing. You can also add eBay to that list with Amazon.com.
Soon enough, window shopping and price notation by customers became commonplace at Best Buy. Customers shopped for model numbers, sizes and specifications at Best Buy, then simply popped online and ordered it cheaper on Amazon or eBay, even when you factor in shipping.
In the subsequent days, months and years, Best Buy has taken steps to usurp this practice at their stores, thus suggesting competition breeds better business practices on the retail end and, more importantly, increased benefits for customers.
Congratulations are in order for the online buying crowd and in store shoppers; your back and forth bickering banter accounted for more than just idle noise. It cultivated a shopping climate that makes both entities look incredibly intelligent.

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