Tag Archives: online shopping

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!

Outlet Mall Savings Online!

Outlet Malls… it’s a love/hate relationship for me. OK, mostly a hate thing because I am not a good enough shopper to recognize a good deal. As far as I can tell, the name “Outlet” screams savings, but does not deliver. Plus, I had to drive two towns over to NOT save!

Well, now you can maybe almost save from the comfort of your own home, because (as ShopSmart.org puts it) you can find outlet savings on your computer!

What kinds of items are ripe for savings?

  • Footwear, apparel, bags and accessories
  • Marked-down, clearance, and overstocked everything
  • Designer clothing, shoes, accessories and home décor
  • Clearance, open-box and refurbished items
  • Discontinued and past-season products, furniture and housewares
  • Refurbished computers, printers, and peripherals; new systems ordered but not paid for; and scratched or dented products
  • Overstock, seconds and discontinued outdoor clothing and gear
  • Appliances, home items, apparel, and tools discontinued, customized, new but returned, new from liquidators, unboxed, used or scratched and dented.


Where will you find these savings? Well, you will have to visit the original article to find out!

Do you have a trusted online savings source? Tell us about it 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 Spending and Trending

online-holiday-shoppingA survey by the Marist Poll, entitled “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Last Year” states it pretty bluntly: The hope that an improving economy would spur holiday shopping does not seem to be materializing.

But while spending isn’t up much, they point out the way we split opur shopping time and dollars. Across the board, online shopping keeps nibbling away at the total.

What are we spending compared to last year?

  • 52% expect to spend about the same
  • 10% plan to spend more this year
  • 38% think they will spend less.

…numbers almost identical to 2012

Where are we purchasing?

  • 19% strictly online, up from 14% in 2012
  • 41% buy some online, some brick & mortar, unchanged
  • 40% brick & mortar only, down from 44% last year

Regional differences in online buying?

  • Northeast: 28%, up from 19% last year
  • South: 17%, up from 12%
  • Midwest: 16%, up from 11%
  • West: 18%, up from 16%

Online buying age gap? Yep.

  • Under 45: 27% mostly online shopping, up from 20% last year
  • Over 45: 13% mostly online, up from 11%

More stats and analysis at the original piece, so, you know, check it out! So, do you see yourself in these numbers? Are your shopping habits changing? Online more? Brick& mortar less? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page.

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!

Safe Online Shopping

shoponlineIn the old days, let’s say 2003, online shopping was the Wild West. You didn’t know whom to trust. Today folks like Amazon.com have really reformed online shopping and made it uniform, safe and secure. But it’s still on us to educate ourselves and shop smart online.

Here’s my not-terribly horrifying online shopping horror story from the old days.

I ordered a laptop battery from a place I had never heard of, but who had a great price. The battery worked great for about two days, and then just died. Like, completely dead.

Knowing I had a two-week return window, I contacted the company’s help desk using the email address from my original order confirmation notice. It bounced back as undeliverable. Somehow, they contacted me anyway and I noticed it was a different email address.

As the return process dragged out, with me never actually getting instructions on how to return the battery, I noticed that EVERY time they contacted me, it was from a different address. Finally I told them, “The rotating email thing is cute, but I totally see that the purpose here is to drag this out beyond the 14 day return period. That’s probably the way you burn people and, if the BBB doesn’t know that already, they’re about to.” That (admittedly limp) threat was all it took to get action, and I got my refund.

I am sure if I had taken the time to read the vendor reviews, I could have figured this out without the headache. But I was blinded by the idea of saving 60 percent! So, again, the point is to educate yourself on the vendor, and some common sense rules of online shopping. Here is your reading list. You’re welcome.

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!

You Can’t Hide from These Deals!

Heard of location-based marketing? It’s been around for a few years, and it’s growing. And a 400 pound gorilla just entered the game!

Basically (very), in location-based marketing you sign up with a retailer somewhere in town. Using GPS or something, they know when you are physically near the place – say you are grocery shopping a mile away – and they send you a text or email with a coupon or some announcement about today’s special.

A lot of tech companies are in this field, including a start-up called The Dealmap. And Dealmap just got PAID, yo!

In a strategic no-brainer, Google has acquired The Dealmap, a startup that shows on a Google Maps-powered map just where you can find all the Groupon-like daily deals in your geographic area.                                                                             Venturebeat.com

Which is great news if you love deals, and you are familiar and comfortable with Google Maps. Bad news, I guess, if you are worried that Google is taking over every aspect of the internet! What do you think?