Virtually even

haven't been shopping.
haven't been missing it, but i have been thinking about it. well, i haven't been missing it because i consider what i'm doing to still be shopping, just shopping differently. shopping sssssssllllllooooowwwwwwwlllllllllyyyyyyy.
there is no question about it, my preference is online shopping. love it. er, make that loved it.
while i haven't been engaging in any retail activity, e- or otherwise, i have been considering what my 1-2 items might be. so far, it's kind of fun and weirdly satisfying, even without the opening up a box of chocolates and mmmmmm when that strong chocolate-y smell first hits you (and once you start eating them and the little chocolaties rapidly diminish, no subsequent opening will smell as rich). so right now i'm enjoying the choices and the sheer anticipation of melt-in-my-mouth goodness... but i digress.
i bet when i do finally buy something, it will be by internet. i could be wrong, it's just a guess.
most people have a definite preference for one or the other, e- or store purchasing. they each have their pros and cons, but what if certain features were swapped?

1. which do you currently prefer?

2. if internet shopping produced an immediate product at your doorstep, while store shopping required that you wait for 4 days before receiving your item, which would you prefer?

3. if stores were entirely private and empty of all sales assistance AND other customers, while the internet provided social exchanges AND professional consultation, which would you prefer?

4. if the internet allowed returns as easy as the purchases (never having to leave your house, at your convenience), while stores would not allow you to try an item on, which would you prefer?


Great Canadian Beagle said...

While the selection on the internet is pretty fabulous, I prefer shopping in a real store every time. It's all about the fit. There's this little Canadian boutique whose collection I've drooled over on their website for almost a year now. Simple cuts, interesting prints, clean looking, organic and cruelty-free to boot! There was this one jumper dress in particular that I practically had dreams about, I loved it so much. I didn't buy however. Their stuff was priced high enough to almost put it out of my price range altogether, and I was nervous spending that much money and getting something that didn't fit in return. I'm sure their return policy wasn't bad, and I don't even live that far from their studio, but the hassle involved might have been significant. So I held off, and admired from afar.

This weekend, the One of a Kind Show was held in Toronto and I was lucky enough to attend. I was browsing from booth to booth, admiring the workmanship of all the beautiful clothes, when I came upon a rack of black jumpers. I had approached the booth from behind, so I hadn’t seen the name. When I picked up the jumper and saw the print on the front, I knew I was holding the very jumper I'd been coveting for months, and I was doing so quite unexpectedly! I looked up in excitement, and sure enough, the whole booth was filled with all the clothing I'd been looking at. I jumped behind the changing curtain without a second thought. Nothing fit. I mean nothing. It wasn’t the fault of the clothes or my body, just an incompatibility of the two. The stuff was too tight in some place and falling off me in others, and my coveted jumper hung ALL WRONG. One dress was so unfortunate that when my Aunt came round the corner in it she started to laugh with a “Good God, take that off, take that off RIGHT NOW.”

I will still admire this collection from afar, looking every now and then to see what the designer is up to, but I know now that I can’t wear the stuff. Trying it on, getting to see how the stuff looked on me and not just a picture is something no number of measurements or photographs provided by a website can provide. If once I try something on in person and I know it fits, I will then shop on-line from that same store. But first time has to be in the flesh for me.

Sorry for this long winded response that doen'st directly answer your questions, but it's in the same spirit, so I figured it was okay:)

Anonymous said...

Stores all the way. Even with ease of return it would mostly cost me more than transportation. Places with free shipping and returns tend to have higher priced items than I want to buy.

I generally don't mind the wait for online clothes and if I order from Walmart - free return a short bus ride away - it often comes the next day. Sometimes I do have the wait for clothes in store because I will walk away and think it over and go back another time, sometimes weeks later.

You didn't mention the frustration factor (for me) of online shopping.
I hate those sites that let you go through the order process by adding things to your cart before they tell you that it really isn't available in your size and color.
Also, in stores it's right in my hand and online I just had the experience of wanting to buy a sale jacket and waiting for a paycheck deposit the next day because we'd had a lot of extra expenses in that week and I wanted to leave emergency cash lying around and then the item was gone. Grrr.

The main reason I prefer stores is that I care a lot about color, texture and particularly how a garment moves. None of this information is accurate online.


Anonymous said...

On second thought, I do prefer internet shopping for books, complete with the serendipitous find. I can quickly check reviews, reader reviews, sometimes sample the book, turn up interviews with author. When I'm in a real bookstore, I can't seem to find what I want. Occasionally I turn up interesting things at ongoing library book sales. I don't use the actual library because the book selection is poor and my city won't pay its fees to belong to the county system so I can't request books or use other libraries in the county - plus I don't drive.

Online was great, too, when the air mattress we use on our bed developed a flat and I ordered a replacement online. It's good for immediate needs that I'm not too fussy about anything besides is it going to function.


Nancy said...

1. Right now, I can't decide whether I like shopping in a store better than online. I'm not keen on social interaction, but I like not having to enter information and numbers on my computer. I like seeing and feeling things, but there isn't a good selection of clothing and things where I live.

2. I don't mind waiting for an item to come in the mail. The anticipation builds, and the excitement of opening a package is great!

3. Oooh, if the internet interaction was an IM chat, I don't know if I would like it. I'm not big on typing, as I am dyslexic and a bit lazy, but also a perfectionist. I would like the stores to be devoid of other people. That would be nice.

4. This one is easy! Definitely the online shopping.

In the end, it really depends on what I am buying. Some things are better bought in stores, like clothing and food, while some are fine on the internet, like fabric, jewelry and the like.

Allure said...

I prefer online stores. It's cheaper (most of the times), and the selection is great. Moreover, you avoid annoying shop assistants.

Iheartfashion said...

Online shopping is my preference most of the time. I rarely try anything on in stores anyway, and find most sales associates overbearing and annoying. I just want to be left in peace to shop and can't remember the last time I asked anyone in a shop for assistance. The wait doesn't bother me either because I never wear a new item right away. I have to let it marinate in my closet for a few weeks first.

Jessica said...

I absolutely prefer shopping in-store. The cut, drape and feel of the fabric is what makes me fall in love with an item and that's too hard to decipher e-shopping.

cybill said...

1. The shops
2. Still the shops, I just have to see and feel the merchandise
3. Shops, you know when you wander around and see stuff that you didn't realize you wanted until you saw it, well thats never happened to me on the internet
4. This one is a tough choice, but I think the store wins again

-h of candid cool said...

1. Usu I prefer to shop in store, I prefer to see/try/touch it in person. At heart I’ll always be a shop girl so I prefer to help people keep their jobs.

I do shop online but usu only if already familiar with the quality/fit of a brand and if there are really closeup pictures of the item.

2. Actually, I had this happen recently. I was debating buying a pair of jeans offline, but ended up stopping into Nordstroms before I made my final decision. I’m so glad I did. I found the perfect pair of inexpensive skinny jeans that were incredibly soft and not skin tight like I’m sure the online pair would have fit. I had to wait a week for Nordstroms to have my size shipped to me. So the store wins out.

3. I notice some online shops,, for example has this annoying IM thing that pops up automatically. And sometimes I will email the customer service if I have a question about the item. But really nothing compares to actually being able to see, touch, and try on the item in person.

4. If it were pants/jeans, trying on is essential, so internet only if it were free shipping/free returns. However, I would be more likely to buy them instore if I was already familiar with the brand.

enc said...

1. Brick-and-mortar.

2. Internets.

3. Brick-and-mortar (but I'd have to petition for robots to fetch sizes for me. Right now, I need salespeople to do that). If I could order several sizes in one shipment, and I didn't have to pay for all the sizes, I'd vote Internets.

4. Internets.

enc said...

This was a great post.

a. said...

1) in-store. but i also have a complicated system for this... i prefer stores because i have yet to order a product online that was as i imagined it when i received it in person. (does that make sense?) i definitely agree w/ people re: fabric, color, etc. and fit too. i've experienced discrepancies with all of these - i even recalibrated my monitor once to try and render a color as close to "real" as it might be, and when the actual product arrived, it was still very different. (almost fluorescent in real life, not on my monitor. and i have a mac. argh.)

BUT - i love the internet for when i find something in a store, fall completely in love with it, but they don't have it in my size. i also use it a ton for research and comparison when i'm looking for a specific item - and if something looks promising enough then i'll go to the store to check it out.

but then i also don't like the internet because of all the insane amounts of packaging that the clothing arrives in! :-) and also, returns can be such a hassle! (i return stuff a lot. wish i didn't, but a lot of the time, the item needs to "stew" in my closet before i really know whether it's for me. i need to find myself reaching for it naturally in order to keep it.)

2) still the store. i don't really care about the wait... the clothing's for the long-term anyway.

3) still stores. in fact i generally can't stand sales assistance of any sort. (i'm assuming this means i'd get to go to the back room to get my correct size, myself? yay!!!)

4) that's a draw. because for the packaging reason, and shipping costs, i'd prefer in-store. but then not being able to try it on, i might have to bring it back = waste of time and possibly gas.

up and down town said...

my own answers:

1. internet

2. that would be hard...maybe store here.

3. again, maybe store.

4. internet


erica said...

i prefer online shopping for hard to find items, or for things that i already know will fit me well. i also do phone orders for b&m shops that i've already established a relationship with (i.e., they know my style and measurements).

i hate the shipping costs, especially for returning shoes, though. waiting is never a problem, though, especially since i decide during the 4-6 days whether i really want it or not (impulse shopper).

i prefer the internet for handmade clothing. without blogs, etc., i would never have met these designers. i no longer shop at impersonal stores like bloomingdales or saks, even if the price is right, because i hate the anonymity. i find that e-commerce is much more personal for the type of clothing i buy.

it's all about easy returns. i find that stores that only offer credit (small boutiques, etc), are as equally frustrating as e-shops.