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GTO 23rd November 2018 13:07

Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy
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Threads like this one on Flipkart give me the jitters. Amazon is no saint either. There are hundreds of thousands of fake products (even if fulfilled by Amazon) & fake reviews on Amazon.

And no, despite all the drama & buzz online, offline sales aren't going anywhere. In India, online retail accounts for single digit % of the total sales. 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.

What is your shopping strategy? Please vote in the poll as well.

Mine is:

• Big ticket items (air-cons, TVs, cellphones etc.) are always offline. I recently bought an air-conditioner from Vijay Sales (love their support & 5-year warranties). Even if I do buy an expensive item online, it's directly from the manufacturer. E.g. I got my phone from and laptop from

• I shop online for the inexpensive items. Think books, cables, scissors, phone covers & more. I shop on Amazon frequently, but most items are of the cheaper variety.

• Perfumes or personal care products = NEVER online. Too many fakes around. I buy these either from a reputable offline store or from online retailers like where I don't have to worry about fakes. Clothes I rarely buy online as I'm very particular about the fit. In case I do get something online, it's from a brand whose fit I'm well familiar with.

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GTO 23rd November 2018 13:31

Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy
Thread moved from the Assembly Line to Shifting Gears!

aaggoswami 23rd November 2018 13:39

Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy
When it comes to clothes, shoes I prefer using offline mode. Given my heavy frame, I dont trust these things being bought online and also am not sure of quality that I will get.
However, for electronic gadgets and stuff like like phones, printer, pen drive, books, I prefer online mode.

When it comes to larger appliances like washing machine, toaster, etc. I prefer offline mode as these good wont be bought as frequently as lets say, pendrive or books. Secondly, the operator (earlier it was mom, now its me) also might have a view which has to be honored as they would be using the appliances daily. So offline mode makes sense for me.

In case of automobile accessories, tyres/rims would be always offline, bulbs, mats, filters, etc. tilts towards online mode.
So for me, its more upon my own preferences than price. I would stick to the above modes as long the price difference isn't more than reasonable before shifting mode of purchase.

findviru 23rd November 2018 13:55

Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy
I chose other in the poll as it depends on items that I want to buy.
For clothes, shoes, I prefer offline mode as fit is important.
For small electronics items, I go with online mode and buy from authorized seller or company itself. The only big electronic item that I bought online is TV and that too is directly from company.
For small value items, I prefer online mode with good reviews. I try to avoid duplicate items.
For grocery, I use mix of online and offline mode as all things are not available online plus Dmart has most of things under one roof.

You have to be very cautious in buying stuff from online as GTO already mentioned that they are flooded with fake products as well as fake reviews.

gupta_chd 23rd November 2018 14:22

Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy
I buy whatever I get cheaper online only from Amazon and Flipkart own sellers like Cloudtail, RetailNet, Amazon Retail etc. Sometimes, few cheaper items from Paytm and Ali Express.

Other I would avoid any other seller or website like Infibeam, Snapdeal, shopclues etc.

Mobiles, electronics I specially buy online only when there are good deals, festive sales.

Axe77 23rd November 2018 14:27

Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy
Voted: Other

I buy anything that warrants physical verification for size or quality or needs to be seen or felt firsthand etc, offline. So for instance clothes etc would typically be offline both for size and feel issues.

Where such issues don't apply, I am happy to buy anything that I can online. I generally trust return policies to work should it be required and its not let me down yet.

While price or convenience is the primary parameter, other key considerations might be installation support, warranty / service support etc. when deciding between online vs. offline.

theexperthand 23rd November 2018 14:27

Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy
I voted other.

For me, it is a combination of factors like the nature of the item, price, convenience of the whole transaction etc.

I do buy big-ticket items from online, provided:
  • I am not exchanging\trading in my old item.
  • The item I buy is sold either from the manufacturer directly or from Cloundtail
  • I am getting a good deal.

So far, I have brought a washing machine, fridge, mixer grinder, TV, watches, fitness trackers etc from Amazon and touch wood, the shopping experiences were good.

For mobiles, it is always online - either from Amazon or directly from the manufacturer.

I do buy footwear also online, but I almost never buy clothes and perfume online.

Almost all small ticket items are from online unless I love going to a particular shop for the experience it offers ( eg: Hidesign - I love going to the shop to experience the items before I purchase and I don't mind paying a small premium for the experience).

All the meat\fish items are also from online (Other than beef).

I use Amazon Now to get grocery\vegitable if we are in a hurry or if we cannot go to local kirana shops, or when I have to buy that last minute gift which I forgot to pick up.


Dry Ice 23rd November 2018 14:41

Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy
I have shifted to offline purchases now for most of the items. Been hearing far too many horror stories for all the e-retailers. I have personally faced issues in returns on couple of instances and also received a defective product once. I might have been lucky so far, but don't want to stretch my luck too thin. :)

V.Narayan 23rd November 2018 15:00

Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy
I indulge my hobbies through on-line purchases - books, aircraft scale models and some aquarium accessories. Rest is off-line always. I observe that the ease and convenience of on-line shopping leads to purchasing more than we really need. I notice this in a lot of people especially those below 35.

It is the aim of both Amazon and Flipkart [read Walmart] to habituate us to their permanent discounts till the off-line competition has been reduced to nothing. Then the real pricing will show.

binand 23rd November 2018 16:01

Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy
I buy most everything online.

I am not much of a shopper. When I do, I prefer to do it online and would venture into an offline store only if I can't really find the right SKU online. Bulk of my shopping is on Amazon.

1. Electronics/Mobile/accessories. The last phone I bought offline was my Nexus 5, and that too only because I pre-ordered it at an LG store. Since then I have bought several but all online (Motorola ones were from Flipkart I think). Among the other expensive items purchased over the last few years I have: Nikon DSLR + an extra lens, Bose QC 25, Jabra Speak, a TV, an OTG, a DVD player (my only purchase from PayTM), PS4, Kindle, Dashcam etc. Online-offline split is 100-0 in the last few years.

2. Clothes. offline, though I hate it and am usually traumatized by the experience. My biggest turn-off is the concept of trial rooms. I can't wait for the barriers to break down for the online clothes retailers. Split is 0-100.

3. Books. Mostly e-books now (Kindle or Play). The few physical books I buy (usually Malayalam language ones) are a mix of online and offline. Split is 90-10.

4. Food/Provisions. Non-veg is 100% from Licious now. Provisions are from Healthy Buddha. 95-5, perhaps (some ad-hoc purchases happen from apartment complex store).

5. Household Stuff. Ad-hoc stuff, consumables etc. are from our apartment complex store or the supermarket nearby. Some stuff is from Big Basket. I'd say online-offline split is about 50-50.

6. Services. Phone, electricity, internet... Practically all online, well-facilitated by Bharat Bill Pay. 100-0.

7. Fuel. All offline. stupid:

lamborghini 23rd November 2018 16:12

Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy
Clothes and Apparel, Accessories + Body care products like perfumes etc., Cars, Homes: Have to be bought offline - trial, quality, etc. make a big difference and these are products that fall into touch and feel category.
I've added cars and homes to the list as both these product categories have started to see online launches and sales taking place (Tata Housing, Mini, etc.)

Electronics: Honestly, this is a mixed bag. As much as possible we try and buy it from the retailer, but if there is more than a 5% difference - online is the way to go for me provided warranty is not compromised.
I bought my Moto X, One Plus 3T, a VU TV, and a couple more mobiles online (either they were sold online only, or the deal online was far superior). Thankfully we are at a nascent stage where a lot of products are sold online through the company directly which helps ensure quality.
That being said - I prefer buying it in person as you can truly gauge the quality of these products, and the turn around is quicker - nothing is worse than having to wait for delivery!
My MacBook Air that I recently picked up, as well as my One Plus 6 were both bought from a store.

Looking back at my online shopping trends, I mainly end up buying the following:

1) knick knacks for home: storage bags, hampers, reusable bottles etc.
2) Some small car accessories, electronic accessories (mobile covers, PS games, Car chargers, etc.)
3) Dog treats and accessories like collars - not from flipkart / amazon, but use a couple of specific sites like Heads Up For Tails which are specifically for pets and have store presence across the country.
4) Books

However, I am particular about whom I buy it from. Vendor rating is important, I try to stick to Amazon Basics if they have anything in stock, or Amazon Fulfilled at the very least. Amazon has won my trust, more so than Flipkart - so the bigger ticket items are bought from Amazon first, and then Flipkart.

Swapnil4585 23rd November 2018 16:19

Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy
My strategy.

I buy books online. At very rare times, I buy clothes online. Rest all, offline.

SS-Traveller 23rd November 2018 17:38

Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy
I stick to Amazon in general, although I have bought small cheap items from Flipkart, Shopclues, Paytm Mall and Snapdeal as well.

High-value branded items (electronics, white goods): not worried about buying from Amazon's manufacturer stores such as Bosch or Samsung, although I've also got marginally better deals (and bought) offline. I got an unbeatable deal on a Bosch washing machine last year. I don't remember when I last bought a phone from a brick-and-mortar store.

Anything that is likely to be WYSIWYG, and cheap: Online stores, almost always.

Clothes, shoes, fashion accessories (where quality of material and fit cannot be checked online): Always at B&M stores. I hate to return stuff and then wait for another consignment or refund.

Amazon has also taken care of fake products received by me twice, which were mentioned as not returnable, by providing me with a full refund twice. Flipkart is not so customer-friendly.

ar@v1nd 23rd November 2018 17:45

Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy
1) Clothes, Shoes, Deodorants and personal items - Always offline. For clothes and shoes, look,feel & fit are critical and nothing can beat offline in this. Also helps in avoiding fakes.

2) Mobile phones, small electronic itmes - Almost always online since prices are way better. Just need to ensure that it is from a reliable seller and is Amazon Fulfulled/

3) Home applicances and other big purchases - Used to buy them offline but now I'm open to online also. My recent strategy is to check the best online price and check with 3-4 shops citing the online price. Unless it's an exceptional online deal, at least one of offline retailers can come pretty close. In that case I go with offline, else I may end up buying online.

4) Furniture - Made a mistake of buying online. Realized that the strength, size and feel of the furniture is not really something you can understand from the online listing. My current preference is to buy offline for furniture.

5) Groceries - Always offline since we dont have a proper online grocer at our place.

6) Regular household items - Almost always online on Amazon unless it is urgent, in which case we buy from store. But I avoid some items which can be tampered with. Case in point : Surf Excelmatic washing machine liquid. This has no seal as such and it's easy for anyone to pour out a quarter of the liquid and fill it with water. I have noticed that sometimes the liquid bought online is 'thinner' than the one we buy from the store.

Other points:

Amazon fulfulled or Flipkart Assured only: I always buy from Amazon Fulfilled (preferably Cloudtail) or Flipkart assured sellers only, after verifying the return policy. Amazon is heavily preferred due to their return policy. Except for stuff like mobile phones, they offer returns for most other items while with Flipkart it's mostly replacement only. Though I hardly return any items, the comfort of knowing that in case I really dont like it, I have the option to return it swings the odds heavily in favour of Amazon.

Try offline, buy online: I try to avoid this (to be fair to the offline retailers) but sometimes cant help it. You notice something in an offline shop that you really like and want to buy. And then you check the price online and you find a huge discount which the offline guy cant offer. No evil intentions, but you end up buying online while you feel sorry for the shop for having wasted their time, space and money.

MSAneesh 23rd November 2018 17:47

Re: Your Online vs Offline shopping strategy
Tough question, would need a detailed list :)
Smartphone/laptops/electronics - Online mostly from OEM sites(better offers & no chance of fake)
Accessories, cheaper items - online
Clothes, footwear - offline only (fit, texture and color maters)
Cosmetics - offline only (online fakes)
Vegetables - offline only (freshness matters)
Groceries & home care - a mix of online & offline (looks for better offer)
Baby care - online (usually better offers)

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