Had an interesting debate over lunch yesterday while in a Twestival planning session, about the different between shopping online, or buying things over the web. You see, you can always find a good deal online, but if you’re really after service, nothing really beats walking into a shop and getting an expert opinion. The key thing, of course, is that the shop needs be staffed by an expert, someone who really knows what they’re doing and knows their way around the products they are selling.
Shopping online always has the advantage of price. The costs of running an online operation will always be lower than running a bricks and mortar operation. And you can knock q few quid off the price of your purchase using a service like PromotionalCodes.co.uk, a website that gives you discount codes to a number of popular websites. You can easily knock 10% to 20% off the online price of an item in this way. And when you consider online prices can be 20% cheaper than going to a store, you can see the attraction.
The knock on effect is that retailers need to start factoring this in, stop trying to compete on price alone and up the ante; providing critical services that cannot be replicated online. The question is, how many retailers really get it?