“Offline to online. Online to offline. Today’s consumers live multi-dimensional, multi-platform lives –and their buying behaviors reflect that same complex dynamic. In many ways, retailers are now racing to catch up.” – Forbes
Before getting sucked into what I’m about to tell you, keep in mind that this information is partly based on my experiences as a sales representative in 3 different telecommunication companies. Each of which I’ve seen struggling to please their customers online, and offline (retail stores, or through telephone sales). The quote stated above by Lisa Arthur at Forbes is very accurate to what is happening to our consumers today. Many people companies see base their research on the behavior of their consumers and what we see happening is that although consumers research products online, many still come to the stores to make their purchase, and because of the growing multi-platform use by the consumers, companies are forced to create an online platform to cater to the consumers who chose to purchase online.
But as a consumer, how do you decide whether you want to purchase your mobile phone online, or in a store. Well, this is why I’m here. Today we will take a look at the pros and cons of both purchase methods and why some might prefer the one over the other.
Pros and Cons of Online Mobile Purchases
– You can make the purchase at any time of the day, online stores have no opening and closing hours.
– Easier to compare prices from different providers instantly
– Sometimes a larger variety of products, such as accessories, sim-lock free phones, and contracts.
– Products are sometimes cheaper online
– Skimming through customer reviews
– Product filtering based on preferences
– Can’t test before buying
– You are less motivated to return products and find yourself keeping some stuff anyway because the return process is sometimes too much work or is too complicated
– Shipping costs are sometimes ridiculous
– Shopping online is sometimes a little too easy causing you to purchase impulsively.
– Waiting for delivery
– No physical assistant to ask advice
– Can’t go to a physical store if you have problems with your phone (some retail store workers may not help and would advise you to contact your point of purchase)
Pros and Cons of In-store Mobile Purchases
– See, feel, and test the phone before purchasing
– The store ambiance, and social nature can be appealing
– Sales staff is pleasant when helpful and knowledgeable
– Take phone, and other products with your right away
– Less options, making the choices easier
– Additional exercise, walking and from store to store
– Gives you a reason to get some fresh air
– Restricted to store opening hours
– Lack of variety
– The sales staff, if they are grumpy and too stiff
– Crowded, causing you to wait your turn
As you can see, each method has its own pros and cons. Personally, I prefer shopping for gadgets like mobile phones at a physical store, talking to the staff, the ambience, and the many other products that I can test makes the experiences that much more fun for me. And working as a sales advisor for more than 4 years, I’ve seen many customers come and go who regretted making a purchase online and wished we could help, or had a broken phone and hoped we could repair it. But unfortunately, most of the providers that only operate online requires one to send the phone to them and have their own policy on these matters.
Stores like Vodafone, Belcompany, etc. have both online and offline services providing customers with the option to browse online or visit the stores.
Each person has a preference, and there is no good or bad choice in this process, all you need to find out is what you prefer.
Are you a person completely connected to the digital age and prefer to do everything online, then feel free to visit and browse through the website.
But if you prefer the physical and social interaction with another person, feeling and testing the phone before purchasing, then going to the store is exactly what you need to.