Online Vs In Store Shopping – Which Will You Choose This Holiday?

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Online vs in store shopping is a debate that has been going on ever since the rise of Amazon and the advancements of technology. Year by year, it appears that more people are choosing to buy things online instead of making the trip to a mall or store. I read two articles this week (found here and here) that made me question where our shopping habits are headed.

If you’re interested to hear my take, continue reading. If you’re here for a quick glance, please send me a tweet or comment below your answers to the following two questions:

  1. Are you going to be doing all, or most, of your holiday shopping online this year?
  2. Will you be doing all, or most, of your holiday shopping before Black Friday?

In a post written by Amy Gesenhues on MarketingLand.com, they revealed that 41% of consumers (out of the 1,600 surveyed) did their holiday shopping online last year- based on a Walker Sands poll. Just to give you some insight, the Walker Sands’ Future of Retail 2017 Holiday Report provides tips to retailers on how to prepare for the holiday season and reveals changes in consumer buying habits. This is all done through surveys taken from a selected base of people.

Of the 41%, 71% said they shopped online at least once a month and 66% said they had used Amazon Prime at least once in the past year. 81% revealed that they were most motivated by “free shipping options”, followed by next day delivery and same day delivery.

While none of these results surprised me, it made me think about the holiday season ahead and exactly what is motivating our buying habits. In a world where we have always wanted things now now now– why is it we are willing to sacrifice instant gratification when it comes to shopping?

It could be that while we all want things now, we are more attracted to having things easily. It obviously takes someone more effort to drive to a store and browse through hundreds of clothes to find something they want, than to pick up their phone while in bed and browse through the same selection.

With our shopping habits all leaning to whatever is most easy, and with more retailers investing more in their online stores, I could only see that 41% rise significantly this holiday season. This leads me to the next post, which has led me to further question the future of our holiday shopping habits.

In this post by Amy, she reveals that 1/3 of shoppers plan to start holiday shopping before Black Friday even begins! This is based off a survey of 1,300 consumers conducted by digital marketing agency CPC Strategy. 35.5% said they would be doing their shopping before Black Friday, and 32% saying they would be doing it in the month of December.

Online vs In Store Shopping | Graph Comparing Holiday Shopping Habits | Aasha Blog

What is more, 72.1% said they would be looking for gifts on Amazon. When it comes to online vs in store shopping, the motivating factor is simple: price. When I read posts and surveys like this, it makes me question why the retail world is still so far behind.

Why do malls continue to insist on opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day? Why has Black Friday not turned into an entirely online experience? Part of my frustrations behind this could be because I work in retail and see the changing behaviors of consumers first hand. More and more are buying online, and instead are using physical stores as a place to do their research on products instead.

More consumers today are treating malls as a window shopping experience. They’ll go in and find something they love, and immediately go online to see if they can find it at a cheaper price. Retailers are struggling to find incentives to convince people to purchase in store, examples are by offering in store only promotions- but is that enough?

With the continuous closures of retail stores, I do not think it is (see my post on Kate Spade and the difficulties of retail stores here). I believe retailers need to reevaluate their online stores and find a way to compete with the ever-growing power of Amazon. The time is slowly coming where online store revenues will have to support retail locations. I don’t see stores disappearing completely, but I believe that retail locations need to become places where customers experience products instead of just simply buying them.

What are your thoughts on this? When it comes to online vs in store shopping, which side are you on? I’ll repost my questions here at the end, please comment with your answers because I am curious to know!

  1. Are you going to be doing all, or most, of your holiday shopping online this year?
  2. Will you be doing all, or most, of your holiday shopping before Black Friday?

 

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