Tag Archives: online retail

Shopping: Online vs. In-store

shop online
photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/sixninepixels

The mix between online vs in-store shopping continues to evolve. As of now, in-store is still the preferred method. One survey of 19,000 consumers worldwide says that 40% of us buy something in-store once a week, while 27% buy something online.

Pros and Cons:

Of course, in the store, you can touch and feel the item. You take it home right now. And returns are much easier. Online, if you pretty much know what you want, it’s a matter of picking the right make and getting a good price. Enter your card number, and the item shows up at your door!


We talked about this previously. Showrooming is going to the physical store, getting that “touch and feel” experience, and then going home and ordering online. Even this has evolved. Today, we are just as likely to research a potential purchase online, and then go buy it at the store!

To Buy or Not to Buy?

Consumer Reports offers advice on good online deals vs not-so-good. Here are the bullets:

Buy Online:

  1. Electronics
  2. Small Appliances
  3. Pet Supplies
  4. Theme Park Tickets
  5. Baby Supplies

Don’t Buy Online:

  1. Paint
  2. Office and School Supplies
  3. Drugs From Overseas

Why these items? You’ll have to read the article! How about you? Are you buying more online than you used to? Why or why not? Do all the identity theft scares have you spooked? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Online Shopping Do’s and Don’ts

She found a great deal, and her hair looks fabulous!
She found a great deal, and her hair looks fabulous!

My wife told me about a girl from work that ordered a dress online for an upcoming wedding. It is a rental place and their gimmick is to send you two of the same dress, one in your size and one the size next to it, thereby “guaranteeing” the fit. They only charge you for one dress, and when you’re done, you just send them back.

I don’t know how revolutionary this is, but it’s a good example of the kinds of perks and benefits you can get when shopping online, mainly because there is so much competition for your dollar. At the same time, it’s a little oddball. “You order one and they send you two? What’s the catch?!?”

Every retailer is different, and not all are on the up and up (more on that in a minute.) So, what you do to enjoy a more satisfying online shopping experience? The Sacramento Bee has some ideas. Here are some bullets:

  • A good return policy: Look for at least a 30-day policy.
  • Free Shipping: It’s pretty common, especially at places with actual stores where they ship the item for pickup.
  • Fit: It helps if you are familiar with the store and the label. Some sites have different “Virtual Fit” software but, again, look at the return policy
  • Fit, comma, shoes: Can be difficult online. Maybe buy two pairs, like the girl above, and return the ones that don’t fit?
  • Restocking fees: Can be pretty steep for electronics, media, games, etc.

Lots more info at the original piece, so check it out!

As for things to watch out for, I will simply direct you to something called the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. A lot of the negative things about online shopping relate to ID and credit card theft. They have a bunch of advice about that.

So, are you among the 25% shopping mainly online? What’s your favorite part? What worried you? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a GREAT weekend!

Online Shopping Habits

She found a great deal, and her hair looks fabulous!
She found a great deal, and her hair looks fabulous!

I knew online purchasing was a big deal, but I didn’t know it was THIS big:

Online customers are becoming important to most businesses. For example, in a recent Nielson Global Survey more than 85 percent of the world’s online population has already used the Internet to make purchases.  SmallBizTrends.com

Since the hardest part of getting people to accept a trend is getting them to try it for the first time, I’d say online shopping has conquered 85% of the world!

This article I point to is a little inside baseball – online marketers talking to other online marketers – telling each other about OUR online buying habits. Who says we can’t peek inside?

Guys and Girls:

  • Both tend to purchase from desktops (M 87%, W 82%)
  • Both tend to purchase from home (M 81, W 84)

Distractions, distractions!

  • Marketers study the number of “abandoned” shopping carts on retail sites. You were shopping and wandered off somehow. They blame cookies. If you have never understood what exactly cookies do, it’s this. They follow you, create a distraction, and try to lure you back to their site.

A Multi-screen experience:

  • “65 percent of purchases begin on a smartphone, while 25 percent begin on a laptop and 11 percent start on a tablet.” Ending, as we said, at home and on your desktop about 90% of the time. For me this is true because I will only give out my credit card on wired cable, never wi-fi.

Anyway, those are the highlights. You can read more at the original piece.

How about you? Do these traits sound familiar? What kind of online shopping do you enjoy? What BUGS you about it? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Retailers Battle Against “Showrooming”

It’s called Showrooming, and it’s becoming an issue. You go into the big box store, looking to buy a Blu-Ray player. You look at the models while the kid in the blue shirt explains the pros and cons of each. So far, so good. Then, you whip out your smartphone and snap a few pics, zap a QR code or two, and do a little online comparison shopping. Ultimately, armed with all of this consumer knowledge, you leave the store, go home, and make your purchase online. So, from Best Buy’s point of view, they are doing all the work while Amazon gets the sale.

So brick-and-mortar stores are getting creative.

Now some big retailers are taking a new approach to the dreaded showrooming by transforming their stores into extensions of their own online operations. Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Best Buy, Sears, the Container Store and other retailers are stepping up efforts to add Web return centers, pickup locations, free shipping outlets, payment booths and even drive-thru customer service centers for online sales to their brick-and-mortar buildings. Memphis Commercial Appeal

Additionally, Wal-Mart is letting people order online, pick up at the store, and pay in cash – which is a surprising chunk of business for them. Meanwhile Sears is introducing drive-thru pickup – and even drive thru returns (if you have ever stood in line at the Service Desk, you know that sounds AWESOME!)

So, what do you think? Are you a Showroomer? (It’s OK – we’re all friends here!) Have you seen any of these new developments at you favorite brick-and-mortar store? Let us know…read the original article…and have a great weekend!

(photo: blog.amaze.com)

Online Shopping, Credit Card Use On the Rise

Extreme Online Shopping: It's RADICAL!

Black Friday is a time-honored shopping tradition. In recent years, Black Friday had a baby named Cyber Monday. And this year it was a BIG baby! This year…

Cyber Monday (was) the heaviest online spending day on record, with $1.25 billion in sales.  Tuesday and Wednesday followed with billion dollar spending days, helping Cyber Week reach a record weekly total of nearly $6 billion in spending.  Consumer Affairs

So far this season, we have spent almost $19 billion online, an increase of 15% over last year. So, great, we’re spending again – that’s got to be good news for the economy, right? Well, maybe and maybe not. It seems that we’re doing a lot of that spending using our credit cards. Credit card spending is up 7.4 %, while debit card use is up only 3.4%. Will we pay off those credit card purchases, or will we let ‘em ride? That’s the question! Paying them off is usually a sign of consumer confidence – which has been in short supply lately!

So, how about you? Have you increased your online buying this year? What makes you choose one retailer over another? Are you using more credit or debit? Let us know!

Older Folks and Online Security

"Where do I slide the card through?"

Now, my 70-year-old mom happens to be one of the most computer-savvy people I know. But I actually knew a guy whose mom was worried that a virus in her PC could also make HER sick!

Older folks are catching up when it comes to the computer, but one thing they still aren’t sure about is the security of online shopping.

The survey found that 77% of consumers 55 and older say they worry about being a victim of online fraud. And 46% say they don’t feel secure that merchants are protecting their safety and security when shopping online. Internet Retailer

Their snot-nosed 18-25 year old kids and grandkids share these concerns, at a slightly lower rate: 62% worry about online fraud, and 27% think retailers aren’t doing enough about it.

The big difference seems to be what happens NEXT. The youngsters research a company more thoroughly, it seems. As a result, while older folks are more worried about fraud, they are also more likely to get ripped off: 46% have gotten scammed at some point, compared to only 35% of the younger folks.

So, caveat emptor*, y’all. And do your research! Do YOU worry about online fraud? Ever been scammed? Let us know!

* “Let the buyer beware.”

Holiday Shopping Goes Mobile!

Half of consumers with mobile phones view their device as a holiday shopping resource for product and sale information, coupons, product reviews, and store information, a new survey finds. And 32% believe their mobile phone is helpful for buying products. Internet Retailer

The stats say that one-third of us have already begun our holiday shopping, and 54% are going to start any minute, here at the beginning of November. Nothing new there. What IS new is the number of us getting more and more comfortable doing our holiday shopping on our mobile devices.  In fact:

  • 70% of consumers who use mobile devices for information and guidance on gift buying say they are likely to consider spending $20 or more on items such as toys, games and electronics via their phones.
  • 40% feel comfortable spending $50 or more on a single holiday gift item using their mobile device.

Consumers at this time of year are on a mission – they have a list and they are ready to buy! So I guess it makes sense that some of the neat-o functions you play with on your phone at other times of the year now suddenly become vital tools in your holiday shopping – locating, researching, comparing and, of course, downloading coupons!

How about you? Will you be using your mobile device as you do combat this holiday season? Let us know!

Getting Craft-y with Mobile Coupons

all I need now is a KNITTING app!

It makes sense for a certain type of retailer to keep their brick-and-mortar stores healthy, even as they make a big push into mobile retail. Michaels craft store is one example, and they have introduced a mobile coupon app to get the job done.

Mobile is providing an important alternate means of coupon distribution for Michael’s and other large chains that have traditionally used newspapers for that purpose as more consumers turn toward digital media and away from print.  InternetRetailer.com

17% of us used mobile coupons last year, and the number is growing. For Michaels, one key to driving consumer acceptance still lies in the old circular stuffed into your newspaper. It leads people to the mobile site, and promises them that the coupons they find there will be different from the ones in the paper.  Also, while the coupons in the paper are necessarily general in nature, the mobile coupons can be more easily tailored to the consumer.

Hey, as much as I feel like a hostage every time my wife drags me into Michaels, I really can’t imagine that you would get anywhere NEAR the same experience – getting ideas, seeing completed projects on display, etc. – from simply shopping online.

So what do you think? There have to be some Michaels fans among us! Have you tried the app? What do you think? What other retailers would you like to see try this method?

Target.com’s “Missoni Impossible”

If you are totally in the dark – or a dude – Missoni is an Italian knitwear designer. They are the latest “big get” for mega-retailer Target. They teamed up to provide Target shoppers with their wide-ranging line of EXTREMELY popular knitwear. But the big launch didn’t go so smoothly!

Comedian Louis C.K. has a bit about people becoming violently frustrated with their smartphones: “Come ON! Download! Stupid thing!” Louie says, “Could you relax? It has to go to outer space and back to provide you a convenience you couldn’t have imagined 10 years ago!”

Something to think about because, during last week’s big launch day, shoppers completely MELTED Target‘s online store, Target.com.  Millions of online shoppers saw the following message:

How can you stay mad at Toolbox Dog? He's got a little toolbox!

And how did they react? How do you think? According to the article, there was a whole lot of “What the ____? Bummer! Totally p*ssed off!” on all the discussion boards.

Meanwhile, the lucky shoppers who had gotten through and glommed up all the merchandise prior to the meltdown were already on eBay, reselling at premium prices.  Come on! These aren’t Beanie Babies or Cabbage Patch Kids!

So anyway, no big judgment here, other than to say if you are going to whip up a consumer frenzy, you’d better be able to handle the traffic! So how about you? Were you part of the madness? Did you score, or were you shut out? Let us know!

The Sound of Savings

You won’t hear it with the human ear, but the next time you are in a big chain store, Shopkick may be calling out your name!

According to a recent article at Forbes.com, Shopkick is a location-based customer loyalty app like Foursquare or Gowalla, but with an important difference:

…it doesn’t use the phone’s GPS. Instead, Shopkick uses a different technology. It plugs in a small box inside each participating store. The box emits a high frequency sound that humans can’t hear. When the Shopkick app is opened, it recognizes the sound so that it knows that the person is actually in the store.

The bottom line is engagement. Remember a few posts ago we were talking about the difference between TV ads that are just on, shooting dumbly out into the atmosphere, versus web ads that tease you and make you click? If you click the web ad, you are already interested in the product. That’s engagement, and the same principle applies with Shopkick. You physically go into the store, you turn on the app, and you wait for the deals to come to you. And Shopkick claims a success rate of 45% that, if it’s true, is a really high number!

For now, because it requires hardware, Shopkick is mainly in large chains like Target, Best Buy, Macy’s, Disney and so on. Foursquare uses existing satellite tracking, and it is popular with smaller independent stores. But of course, they are looking into copying Shopkick’s success. Hopefully the winner will be YOU.

So have you used Shopkick? What do you think?