Online shopping has been picking up steam in recent years, with 2014 expected to have the highest percentage of shoppers turning to the Web to make their purchases. But as e-shopping gains popularity, there’s no need to turn your back on brick-and-mortar stores.
Here are five reasons why you might want to choose in-person shopping over a cybersale this season:
1. You Want to Talk to a Person, in Person
When you’re looking to find out more about a product from an expert, it helps to head to the store. Looking for a new tablet but not sure if the one you’ve picked out will live up to your daughter’s expectations? Drop by your local electronics store, where salespeople are likely to be well-versed in the available products and can offer you some personal advice.
Of course, you could always hop on the “showrooming” trend, by researching an item at the store and then purchasing it online, but why go to all that trouble when you could just buy it at the store? Besides, you might as well repay the useful tips you got from the salesperson in the commission he or she will get for your purchase.
2. You Want to See – and Touch – the Goods
Whether it’s new towels or a decent winter coat, there are some items that just aren’t the same when you look at them on your 1,366-by-768 display. When you need to pick up and examine a product in real life, visiting your local store offers a major benefit over shopping online.
3. You Want to Skip the Delivery Stress
Every year, private couriers are swamped by orders, causing delays and disappointment. There’s nothing like checking the porch for days in anticipation of a package, only for it to arrive after Christmas.
In other cases, your package might show up – but you’d never know, because the conspicuous box on your front steps was snatched up by thieves before you got home to take it inside.
Take no chances, and be your own courier. Pick up your purchases in the store, and you won’t have to waste any more of your frazzled nerves wondering about the status of your delivery.
4. They Might Want to Return It
Let’s be honest. Not all gifts are well-received. If you’re pragmatic about your gift-giving, you’ll accept the possibility that your present might end up going back to the store once the holidays are over.
If you bought that gift online, returns could be a huge hassle for the recipient. Not only will the gift be unlikely to be in the box it was shipped in, but many online retailers have stricter policies about opened merchandise than those of brick-and-mortar stores. And how many e-commerce sites besides Amazon offer a gift receipt?
Keep things simple by purchasing your presents at a store, where your friends and family can bring the gifts back if they’re less than thrilled by your taste in socks, sweaters or CDs. As a bonus, they’ll save on shipping costs.
5. You’ve Waited Until the Last Minute
We’ve all been there. It’s afternoon on Christmas Eve, and you’re frantically searching for a gift for that last, hard-to-please person on your list. If procrastination is your modus operandi, in-store shopping may be your only choice to pick up a gift before you run out of time.
When you live life on the edge, you can’t rely on UPS delivering your package hours before your Secret Santa holiday party. The brick-and-mortar businesses in your area, however, are just a walk or car ride away.
Written by Melinda Szell
Shopper with holiday packages image via Shutterstock