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View Poll Results: What is your online vs offline shopping strategy?
No strategy. I'll buy wherever I get the lower price 201 52.48%
I buy cheaper items online, and expensive stuff offline 107 27.94%
I buy expensive stuff online, and cheaper items offline 4 1.04%
I buy everything online only 30 7.83%
I buy everything offline only 4 1.04%
Other (please specify in your post) 37 9.66%
Voters: 383. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 23rd November 2018, 18:16   #16
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Default Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy

I alway followed clothes offline. Can never get the right fit online. Mobile phones have always been online since most phones I like are only available online.

I have always bought large home appliances like washing machine, dishwasher, air con fridge offline. Air con I trust only authorised distributor over online.

This time I made an exception and ordered a Bosch Washing machine online. Very pleasant experience. Usually offline delivery guys crib for bringing the machine inside since they need to carry from the main road to my flat which is a 50m away. Amazon had no such issues. I bought the dryer from Bosch direct store and even that was a good experience.
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Old 23rd November 2018, 19:31   #17
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Default Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy

>Shoes and clothes : Always offline

>Electronics : Always online

>Home Appliance : Always offline

>General grocery and home needs : One order a month is typically online, rest largely offline

>Fruits and Veg : Exclusively offline.

Have earlier given bigbasket & grofers a chance. They were quite alright. But then I love the sight, feel, and smell of multicolored fruits and veg laid out. I once dared to venture out to the city market in B'lore for vegetables. Parking was a massive hassle. Cleanliness could have been better. But otherwise, its a great sight to behold. Haven't gone since.

>Kids stuff : Dominantly online.

I use amazon subscribe for timely delivery and better deals on baby wipes, diapers, etc. Will be tough for B&M stores to beat that.

>Snacks for home & travel: Always offline.

Have well defined and standard shops that I go to for this.
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Old 23rd November 2018, 20:45   #18
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Default Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy

Voted for expensive items offline and cheap items online, however there are many exceptions and qualifiers:
- Items which need comfort which you will get only after handling it - DSLR - surely offline (but might be tempted to buy a lens online if a good deal is available)
- Items which are one time buy - like fridge, AC, microwave, TV - offline (exception - one Panasonic 32 inch TV bought from Flipkart - there was a nice deal)
- Items which require consultation/discussion and ok from better half - in the above category plus mixer, toaster etc - offline (exception - Hot steam iron bought online)
- Based on where wider choice is available - for e.g. mobile - always online, actually last mobile I bought from a store was Nokia 5800 in 2008
- Clothes - its mixed - shirts-mostly online, trousers mostly offline, blazers - offline for me, online for my son, traditional dresses - yet to try online
- Shoes - online (surprisingly), chappal and sandals - offline
- Grocery, vegetables - never online
So, it is combination of cheaper/costlier online/offline, convenience and opportunity


Last edited by GTO : 25th November 2018 at 16:54. Reason: typos
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Old 23rd November 2018, 22:05   #19
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Default Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Even in the USA - the king of e-commerce - online accounts for 10% or less of all retail sales. 90% of American retail is still offline.
While factually true, this statement needs some perspective:

"total retail sales" also includes the dollars made from motor vehicle sales, gas stations, groceries, and other categories that aren't as affected by e-commerce
There are many things for which e-commerce simply does not have an offering. Cars, houses, loans, groceries etc. are not purchased online. If you remove, in value terms, the sections of purchases that just don't have an online alternative, the US would show an extremely different picture.
If you also remove, in value terms, the people who do not have or use the internet at all, it is going to change the picture even more.

Also, e-commerce is a new born child compared to offline retail, and yet it has surpassed offline retail for many things already.

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
What is your shopping strategy? Please vote in the poll as well.
I try to buy most things online. Big, small, expensive, inexpensive, valuable, sundry, etc.
I do enjoy a shopping excursion immensely, but mostly to new places, where I don't know what I'll find, or to places where I know I'll find something worth my time.
Sure, I've been stiffed a couple of times, and counterfeit stuff has shown up, but it has been promptly attended to. Also, the counterfeit stuff that showed up has been bought by me in a physical store too, and guess how easy that was for me to return. Hint: it wasn't. In this example: stuff = supplements both times.

Also, for those who are particular about the fit and feel of apparel, how can anything beat trying stuff at home? Store trial rooms? Ugh. Waiting? Ugh. Shitty mirrors with shitty lighting? Ugh. Making up your mind in two minutes? Ugh.
How many times has it happened that you liked something in store but when you tried the thing at home, you disliked or even hated it? But, you can't return that if bought from an offline store (which, btw, is such an asinine rule that stores follow here, it's insane. You'd think they'd learn a thing or two from Zara).

I know the free returns thing won't last. I'm happy to pay return shipping, when that day will come, to have the leisure and pleasure of trying stuff I like at my own place, at my own time, and at my own convenience.

Some other points:
  • There's many things that aren't available here in India. Now there are shipping forwarders to fill that gap.
  • In most cases more accurate and better data about the product is available online.
  • I hate carrying change. Many offline places still do not accept cards.
  • Comparisons: there's just no comparison there. The varied attributes that can be minutely compared between the short listed can only be done online
  • Reviews: by actual buyers and users help quite a bit
  • I order stuff in a relaxed frame of mind, while listening to music that I like, without worrying about the time, which brings me to my last point:
  • The store does not close. Ever.

On the other hand, offline retail is just too much effort now. Facing the traffic, finding parking, looking through stuff, then talking to a sullen shopkeeper who hates their job and life, while I could have been listening to music while ordering the same stuff that would show up at my place in a day or two. Bliss.

There's place and value for offline too. But for most things for me, it's online first.
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Old 24th November 2018, 10:18   #20
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Default Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy

Mobiles - Something like the One Plus or Honor or few Nokia and maybe even the Mi is not available offline, so no choice but to get it online.

Clothes - Shirts and T-Shirts I may as there is a good tailor and I get it altered, especially the sleeve length.

For sports wear it is exclusively Adidas online store, perfect fit and easy returns.

Shoes - Online deals plus the range, for eg, check Adidas or Nike's website and see if the store has as many options, maybe at big places there maybe but for sure, it is not everywhere.

Kids - Gini and Johnny had one Jeans at 1,999 at store and I got 3 pairs of Benetton for some 1,850 odd, how is that?

Saree - Nalli, exclusive, else offline [Kolkata especially].

Small items and some exclusive items, like plants/seeds etc online. My wife doesn't get few things here at stores, so its either online or we have to wait it out. So, why not online.

My preference for online is majorly because of my location and one more reason is because of the choice. Returns are easy [Jabong/Myntra/Amazon/Adidas/Crocs, you name it].
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Old 24th November 2018, 12:32   #21
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Default Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy

Bear in mind that these days we live in the Netherlands. Virtually every major shop based out of the Netherlands also has an online version. So fake online products, fraudulent websites is a little easier to avoid.

I do not think I have a particular strategy as such. Between my wife and myself we tend to buy online quite regularly. A lot would be for our respective hobbies. So my wife buys stuff for her Barbie collection, her seamstress stuff and various other things, clothes for instance, certain things for the garden. Most on what I buy online tend to be car parts and or tools. But also some things for my photography. Noticeably for instance printing paper, inkt for my printers etc.

These days everything like electricity, gas, water, internet, TV connection is all bought online too.

I get a steady stream of emails that now and then might prompt me to go online and buy something. Last night I got a special promotion from TomTom for Black Friday sales. Tempting to click on it and get myself a new TomTom.

Books is another items we might buy online. Usually we will go online if we are looking for a particular tittle that we know is unlikely to be stocked in a regular book shop. Also, where we live now, there isnít really a proper book shop for miles around.

Stuff like TV, fridge, cooker etc we would never buy online. Always go to a shop and look around a bit.

We like day trips and we often go and see certain events. I will always buy all the entrance and parking tickets online. Often cheaper, but certainly just so much more convenient as you do not have to queue at the ticket booth. We are seeing the Queen movie Bohemian Rhapsody tonight. We decided that last night at 23.00pm after just finished watching a Queen documentary on telly. Ordered tickets online right away!

My eldest son and his partner do just about everything online. They even order most of their daily shopping online. From the supermarket that is literally around the corner! They happily pay even more to have groceries delivered. They both work, money isnít that big a concern, time is.

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Old 24th November 2018, 13:11   #22
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Default Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy

As expected, yet another insightful and very relevant discussion on TBHP
Thanks GTO!

Voted for - "I buy cheaper items online, and expensive stuff offline".

If I were to pen down typical preferences for a shopping platform (online vs offline), it will be something like this:-
  • A. Toiletries - online
  • B. Groceries / food items - offline
  • C. Shoes /Clothes - offline
  • D. Office / Stationery / Electronics items - mostly online
  • E. Home utility (incl. electricity, cooking gas, Internet etc.) - online
  • F. Home appliances (minor or relatively low priced - mixer, vacuum cleaners etc.) - online
  • G. Home appliances (major or relatively high priced - Television, refrigerator, washing machine, oven etc.) - offline
  • H. Travel booking (railways, bus, flights, hotel)- online
  • I. Home decor / Light Furniture (minor or relatively low priced - couple of chairs, carpet etc.) - online
  • J. Home decor / Heavy Furniture (wardrobes set etc.) - offline
  • K. Miscellaneous (toys, gifts etc.) - online
  • L. Mobiles/Laptops - offline

Important point for me to relate is that even though I end up making the purchase or final payment as offline in some cases, but the journey for research and comparison very well starts online. The most common example is electronics goods as in #G, #J and ofcourse #L.
This is largely attributed to retailers adopting an approach called as "omnichannel" customer journey or experience wherein the customer is offered options of starting their exploration or research in a particular mode and ending in an altogether different mode.
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Old 25th November 2018, 08:41   #23
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Default Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy

On a regular basis, primarily offline - local grocer or retail outlet.

But, while the current party lasts we do buy items including slightly expensive ones like mobiles, laptops online, since the discounts are too significant to ignore.

For books it has been online since several years, while for clothes, it has always been offline at retail outlets.
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Old 30th November 2018, 09:49   #24
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Default Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy

Users prefer to buy standardised goods online and opt for the custom / non-standardised goods to be bought offline.

No one wants surprises when it comes to purchases. Hence, with standardised goods, we have peace of mind that till such time that we go with a reputed online site / store, we do not normally have any heart stopping surprises. We also see many individuals seeing the product in flesh either with acquaintances or offline stores before opting to go online only for better deals.

For the non-standard / custom goods, fit and finish is a big factor. Here seeing is believing and hence the tendency is skewed towards offline.

Then there is this hybrid option of booking online and taking delivery offline. Case in point being the new vehicle booking options available with PayTM.
Over a period of time, personally, I see many buyers going the online route for purchasing their loved set of wheels.
It may be early to conclude, but, eventually showrooms for vehicles will dwindle.
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Old 30th November 2018, 10:19   #25
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Default Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy

I voted 'Other'.

I like to do a little market research wrt pricing, models, specs etc before I purchase items in the electronics category. Before buying online, I also like to be sure I can return, not necessarily exchange, the item with no questions asked. I've been shopping exclusively from for several years now and have had a fairly enjoyable experience.

Mobile Phones - All of my smartphone purchases were made online and from highly rated sellers like Cloudtail India or Appario Retail Private Ltd. Never had a problem, even with exchange.

Laptops & Accessories - Same as above. If I cant find what I'm looking for online, I go to the OEM website or store.

Clothing/Shoes - I stick to certain brands where I know a certain label size fits my frame comfortably and so when buying online I have rarely had to return items for exchange/refund. For fresh designs I always shop offline as online stores tend to maintain old stock.

Baby Products/Kids Toys - All online and only from trusted sellers.

Stationery/Books/Grocery/Household Supplies - As long as I am certain the items are WYSIWYG, then I buy online. Groceries have been via Amazon Pantry or BigBasket with both giving me no problems thus far.

Personal Care/Grooming - I do not buy perfumes or deodorants online. The spouse doesnt either. Somehow we just dont trust that the item delivered is really genuine, even if from a highly rated seller such as Cloudtail. Items like shampoos, conditioners, shaving cream, soaps etc are bought online.

Kitchen & Home Appliances - We've purchased items like mixer/grinder, microwave oven, OTG, hair drier, home theater, headphones to name a few... all online. Havent purchased large appliances like television sets, refrigerators, washing machines, or air conditioners online thus far but I am open to the idea.

Automotive - All online. Items like microfiber cloth, Jopasu duster, engine oil, coolant, oil filter, air filter, chamois cloth, floor mats, etc.
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Old 30th November 2018, 10:28   #26
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Default Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy

One of the main reasons of people buying big ticket items online is the year around sales and cashbacks on several credit cards!
I keep 3 credit cards only for the Amazon and Flipkart Sales (HDFC is my primary CC, Citi is used of Apple Product Sales either via Amazon/Maple and SBI is used for any other items)

I donít even recall buying any major electronic item offline in Last five years! All my mobiles, laptop, AC were bought from Amazon ( Just be double sure of the seller - some notorious sellers are there on Amazon and can trouble you sometimes)
Although have had few close calls with Online Shopping,
1. When I got a VU TV from Flipkart, the outer carton had a small rupture and Lower side of the back panel had a small scratch- I outright refused the TV and asked for replacement, Flipkart asked me to cancel this order and order another TV ( this meant loosing the discount and offer) - after numerous calls and mails , was able to get a replacement.
2. 3 years back I ordered oneplus 3 from amazon and the parcel got lost in transit near Sakinaka ( trust me I got this exact mail) and Amazon Exec again asked me to put a fresh order - by then the sale was over and there was no exchange offer too. Again this took some escalations and somehow got the replacement.

But the positives for online shopping far outweigh the negatives and as long as you are ready to fight initially you should be okay!

PS. Online is the best source to get Apple Products- Trust me, Amazon prices after discounts and exchanges are atleast 30% lower than Maple or Nyasa!
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Old 30th November 2018, 10:40   #27
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Default Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy

Off late, I have seen that some offline retailers for home appliances like mixer, Refrigerator, TV, ACs etc are able to offer better rate than online retailers. If the price difference is not more than 5%, I prefer to buy offline though mobile phones have been purchased online everytime.
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Old 30th November 2018, 11:07   #28
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Default Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy

It is a mix for me while shopping online vs offline. Most of the time I prefer shopping online for items like electronics, clothes, footwear, accessories, bags, some car and bike spare parts along with engine oil, etc. I buy branded clothes and footwear online as I know my brand size fitting and quality. Exchange in case of size difference is very rare in my case and even if it is the process is really convenient and user friendly. I also save money, travel and time as compared to offline shopping.

Ditto for electronics and accessories, I buy them branded stuff and it doesn't make any difference as I know my brand and video reviews about such stuff come in handy. Buying regular small spare parts and engine oil online through reputed dealers is really handy and saves me a lot of time and efforts to procure them.

For monthly provisions too I have started using online mode. I can choose regular monthly stuff on Dmart online or other such sites. The monthly provisions usually remains unchanged in quantity and type hence I just have to refill my order basket and be done with it. Even if I have to add a few items it is just a click away. I save while buying provisions online too due to discounts, digital wallets, credit card points, etc. Time and energy saved is well worth it too. No parking hassles at the store, no hauling of heavy weight around, etc. there is a Dmart collection centre near my home where I just drive in and pick up my stuff at the designated time as per my choosing or also have the option of home delivery albeit with some associated delivery charges levied by Dmart online. Delivery is done the very next day or at the max two days.

Ditto for buying medicines and supplementary food through online medical stores, it is really easy, convenient and results in a lot of savings. Only thing one has to take care of is the track of medicines left over for replenishing it on time. Again one can use digital wallets, credit card points, site discounts, etc. to save money. Again delivery is done in 2 to 3 days max.

Sometimes I am unable to find stuff offline or stores near my house, this is where online mode comes in really handy as I can find anything and everything online. Since I am aware of the prices it doesn't take me much time deciding to buy stuff online.

For home appliances again if I am using a certain brand I stick to the same model and if available online I buy it. If I want to buy some thing like an audio system I would buy it offline as I will need a demo to hear the sound effect before signing the dotted line. For something like a TV I will either visit the showroom or a mall and hunt for the model I want. This will be followed by checking the prices and discounts vis a vis online for the same model. Depending on the deal I will pick my choice.

Except for once or twice in my 10+ years of shopping online I have never received a damaged/used/faulty product. The one instance I remember is when I received a heavily used item from Flipkart, it was promptly returned by me and I got my money back in a matter of 5 days. It was reassuring and thereby build my trust to go for online shopping mode.

I nowadays use offline mode only to buy regular stuff like fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs, meat, snacks, etc.
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Old 30th November 2018, 11:36   #29
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Default Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy

Canít claim to have a strategy but broadly, I prefer shopping online as far as possible. All standard, branded products which do not require support are bought online - ranging from expensive stuff like phones, computers etc to cheap stuff like connectors, socks etc. I have bought all my shoes offline so far - but that is because my standard running shoe (ASICS Gel Kayano) is rarely available online in my size - if it were available, I would buy it online. Usually get formal clothes from Raymond Made to Measure (so that is offline) - and find casual clothes have no fixed sizing and hence buy them offline too. But my sports clothes (T shirts and shorts) are usually online. Need to replace my ACs soon - will probably buy those offline since installation will be needed. I HATE visiting malls. I also find people who expect a market place like Amazon to not have the same ills we find in any other market place in this country strange - the fact is that too many of our shop keepers are dishonest and you have to find those who are reliable and stick to them:
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Old 30th November 2018, 12:04   #30
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Default Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy

I have voted Other

There is no strategy I follow as such. It depends on the item, availability, convenience and urgency of the requirement.

At times, I visit the offline stores to get a feel of the product and prices and then if the product is available online for >10% cheaper price, order it online.

While I shop online generously, except when shopping for Gold and ladies clothing, I usually enjoy the offline shopping experience even though there is traffic, parking issues etc. There is a human touch involved in buying offline. You talk to real people make friendships when you buy from the local retailers. Not to mention the snacks/food you can have at the end of the shopping.
In US, my whole family used to love the shopping experience at Costco which is known for their generous food samples and huge parking lots with cheap & quality gasoline. They have one of the best return polices I have ever seen. I used to be a regular in Costco while I was there. Even in India, I see that some of biggies like Spar are making things more pleasant for offline shopping.

Nowadays, if the items are not easily available near my home or very expensive offline, I go to Amazon.
But offlate I see that fraud/bad experiences in online shopping are on a rise in India. My experiences with Big Basket were not so good where they frequently delivered incorrect or spoiled items(I dont buy veggies online, these are other food items) and when pointed out are willing to take returns. But with food you dont go online with the objective of getting your money back. You expect a correct item to be delivered to consume it. If they return money, you have to go back and buy that item again which is a hassle. Had a similar experience while ordering with Zomato. After taking the order from restaurant the delivery guy went missing. When reported, Zomato just refunded the money. It was 10PM in the night with nothing at home and I had drive down to a restaurant myself and get some food packed. These experiences made me wary of online ordering of food stuff. So I drive down to restaurants with valet parking and delivery cannot beat the experience of sitting in a restaurant with good ambiance and eating the food fresh and hot with all the cutlery. I hate the plastic packing used for hot food. Its a slow poison.

The other unwanted byproduct of excessive online shopping is the pile up of a ton of packing plastic and cartons of all sizes

Just out of curiosity, I wanted to understand one thing - I hear lot of people saying they dont have time to do shopping or even cook food. They use Amazon, Swiggy etc for all sorts of deliveries. Now if one is not shopping or cooking food at home or even cleaning the home(in all probability they would have maids to do that) where does the time go?
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