Shopping is an enjoyable experience for most people. The only means of shopping a decade ago would have been to go to a physical store selling the product you desired but things have drastically changed in the last decade and even more so after the pandemic caused by covid 19. In this short blog, we talk about the major differences between shopping at a retail store and an online store, when it comes to sarees. It is in the interest of the average shopper to beware of the pros and cons of each one.
Shopping a few decades ago meant visiting a physical store selling the product. In-store shopping has certainly had plenty of time to evolve and possesses inherent advantages;
Touch and feel : Experiencing the product in real has a special advantage that no one can say no to. Feeling the color and texture of the fabric in real life is something that is hard to replicate.
No-time delivery : You definitely need not worry about getting the product on-time here. Offline shopping is best for instant and immediate needs.
Personalized experience : Another advantage of shopping in a physical store is that you get a customized experience. Most stores dedicate a sales person to each customer who can understand your needs and only show sarees that appeal to your senses.
All this being said, there are also some cons of shopping at a physical store;
Lighting : Although you get to touch and feel the fabric in real life, stores often use fancy lighting to enhance the colors of the sarees. Some stores do have neutral lit areas where the true color of the saree can be checked.
Sales tactics: Stores often have incentive schemes for their employees which is not a bad thing in on itself. But its possible that a sales person might be dishonest with respect to the product just to make you buy it. Again, this isn't the general case but a possibility. A good store never pressures you into buying their products.
Location: The store might be far away from where you are located. Things like heavy traffic and weather could also affect your ability to travel to the store.
Costs: Its fairly obvious that physical stores have to deal with a lot more overhead costs compared to online stores. Stores that have a good volume of sale usually don't need to add the overhead costs to the price of the product. But some stores do and you might be better off buying online in that case.
Ecommerce in India is still in its nascent stage. With the advent of smart phones and cheap internet access, we've had something of a boom in this sector over the past decade. An interesting observation is that the saree is the most commonly purchased product via online shopping in India. Here are some of the advantages of shopping online for sarees;
Time saved : Online shopping is definitely saves time. Online stores are open 24/7 and you can shop at anytime from the comfort of your home. A recent statistic in India reveals that most Indians do their shopping after business hours (after 9.00 pm).
Ample options : You can open five tabs on your browser and have access to 5000+ sarees in an instant. This much of choice was never on offer before and it is definitely a huge advantage.
Offers : Online stores can lease land and buildings at a fraction of the cost that retail stores located in prime areas incur. They usually pass on these saved costs to the customer through discounts and offers.
But online shopping does have its own disadvantages too. Here are some of them;
The trust factor : Its much harder as a customer to pay upfront for a product you don't receive instantly, especially if the price is significant. Doing so requires a certain level of trust in the online store.
Transit issues: Your products might get damaged on transit. Most stores do insure against damage during transit and this is something you need to insist before you place your order in order to avoid issues later on.
Lack of expert opinion: Every person who shops online inevitably ends up having a similar experience. The experience of having someone interact with you and understand your needs is perhaps the biggest downside to shopping online. A lot of online stores these days have sales agents who can help you shop via live chat. While this doesn't replace the real life experience, it can help you in making an informed decision on your purchase.
End of the day, people will choose either physical stores or online ones based on their own needs. Those looking for a special experience with time to spare might prefer physical stores while some people almost exclusively shop online. It is perhaps best to view them as two sides of a coin rather than two entirely different things.