Despite the diversities between societies, one binding fact is that everyone is a consumer. In many parts of the world, individuals buy and sell goods and services. However, some key characteristics differentiate the way societies consume products and services. Behaviors in shopping are one of the facets that distinguish individuals from one culture to another. A few decades ago, the in-store mode of shopping was the only known consumer shopping behavior. The advent of internet technology has presented individuals with a new shopping approach. Currently, consumers can buy products and services online, provided they can access the internet. While some similarities may exist, more differences between in-store and online shopping are evident, influencing consumers’ shopping behaviors.
One of the differences between in-store and online shopping is how both approaches demonstrate the knowledge of the products they sell. In most cases, customers look for stores where they can find more information about an item they intend to buy (Basar et al. 227). In-stores are perfect places to convey knowledge about the products to a potential customer. They employ merchandizers, brand ambassadors, or sales representatives who present the products to customers as experts. Demonstrating knowledge and expertise about products help customers in making decisions. In-store shops that demonstrate knowledge of products may attract potential buyers.
Although online traders display essential details about products, their methods of demonstrating expertise differ from that of in-stores. Instead of employing sales representatives and brand ambassadors, online entrepreneurs provide their clients with blogs, videos, and guides, which make it easy to understand their product (Lee 1551). Online shoppers who have access to such marketing platforms deem the online seller to have expertise and knowledge about the products they intend to buy, which is a factor that increases the number of clients who are purchasing products in online stores. Therefore, online traders use blogs, videos, and graphics to display their knowledge of the products they sell.
Another notable difference between in-store and online shopping is the techniques they use to look appealing to customers. To attract more customers, entrepreneurs engaging in in-store marketing make their premise appealing and unique, as many customers will base their shopping experiences on such appearances. Therefore, they are less likely to shop from disorganized and unattractive in-stores. Entrepreneurs should keep their stores organised and attractive to ensure that potential clients visit the in-store.
Online entrepreneurs have not been an exception when it comes to the issue of being attractive and appealing to potential customers. However, rather than organizing the physical shop, online entrepreneurs create an appealing website with an engaging home page (Lee 1551). In essence, the online store’s website should look professional to attract potential buyers. Hence, online stores create a simple design, avoid the use of conflicting colors, and use attractive graphics.
Another difference is convenience and time customers spend when shopping a product. Some people view in-store shopping as time-consuming because a consumer is required to spend ample time in window-shopping, which entails visiting one in-store after another before making a decision. Such a movement is not only time consuming, but it also wastes energy and resources. Online shopping is more convenient because the consumer does not have to move around comparing prices and varieties. Online shopping is done at the convenience of the consumer (Gbadamosi 168). The only aspect required for online shopping is to search for the item, and once found, ordering can be done at any time since online shops operate 24/7. Therefore, online shopping is more convenient and less time consuming compared to in-store shopping.
Despite many differences between in-store and online shopping, both platforms have similarities. One of the significant similarity between online shopping and in-store shopping is the considerations of retail locations. In most cases, the proximity of shops to people’s homes or jobs influences their decisions to purchase products and services (Basar et al. 227). In this regard, a person setting an in-store shop must consider the premises’ proximity to the intended clients because this aspect impacts whether a customer will buy from a particular store. Therefore, setting a shop in a strategic location might increase the numbers of clients.
Similarly, individuals engaging in e-commerce also consider the location of their business. One would be surprised to discover that location is a determining factor for people who establish online businesses or those who shop online. The location of a site is one of the contributing factors when it comes to shipping products. Consumers who buy products online would like to be sure that the seller will ship the goods to their location. Therefore, companies intending to explore the heights of online business opportunities should display information about their location, shipping rates, and the places they can ship.
Although online and in-store shopping similarities are evident, more differences between the platforms are dominant, influencing consumer-shopping behaviors. Both businesses consider the proximity to potential customers but from different approaches. They also demonstrate expertise and knowledge of the products they sell to buyers through different operational platforms. While in-store entrepreneurs endeavor to keep their premises clean and attractive, online entrepreneurs create appealing websites to attract more consumers. Online shopping is more convenient as users utilize less time at the comfort of their office or home.
Basar, Enes, et al. The Virtual World and Marketing. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018.
Gbadamosi, Ayantunji. Handbook of Research on Consumerism and Buying Behavior in Developing Nations. Pennsylvania IGI Global, 2016.
Lee, In. Encyclopedia of E-Commerce Development, Implementation, and Management. USA Business Science Reference, 2016.