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Where Online Retailers Fall Behind

January 9, 2014

There are so many benefits to shopping on secure online websites. First there is the convenience of not having to leave your home to fight traffic, packed parking lots and long lines. Then there is the easy savings. With search engines like dealoz.com that search prices for you on multiple sites then presents results showing who has the item, at what price and its condition, shoppers can be sure they are getting the lowest price. Not to mention most websites display their current coupon offer on the site’s homepage.

Online retailers have a great advantage. They can reach a larger audience than a brick and mortar store and often offer lower prices since their overhead is significantly lower. So what’s the problem? Why haven’t online stores completely taken over the world and shut down all traditional retailers? There are a few areas where ecommerce doesn’t guarantee the best deal or a satisfied customer.

Clothing and shoes. While online retailers can bring more variety straight to your home, they can’t give you the buyer’s confidence that trying something on in a store will. And what if it doesn’t fit? A lot of sites will accept the return but require you to pay the return shipping. What typically happens is shoppers either keep something they can’t/don’t use or they return the item and pay something for nothing.

Food- While a lot of companies’ sell and ship refrigerated items they tend to be significantly higher. Why? When a grocery store gets a shipment of steaks they get enough for many consumers and in a way get a bulk shipping deal. When an online retailer has to package and ship the same steaks to multiple addresses these prices can increase dramatically.

Bulk Vendors- If you’ve ever had a membership to a bulk retailer chain you know their motto is “bigger is better”. You get the convenience of buying large quantities of items at discounted rates. While some sites can offer the bulk price reduction, that savings is typically lost once shipping is calculated. Most shipping prices are based on weight and bulk items can really add up.

Face to face service- Technology has made some major advancements in the way of cyber communication but at the end of the day, smart machine suggestions and call center customer service reps don’t have the same level of connectivity as the face to face communication in brick and mortar stores.

Having to maneuver your way through automated menus can be frustrating for consumers who may need assistance, advice or just a quick answer. Employees of online sites that sell a wide variety of products often lack the product knowledge needed to help a customer make an informed decision. These workers are typically in a call center environment and nowhere near the merchandise so have no interaction or experience with the products they are selling or servicing.

In conclusion while online shopping is a growing trend and a convenience that will continue to be exercised there are some areas it has yet to crossover.

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