Online shopping versus offline shopping, the unending debate

The big debate that is going on these days is whether to shop online or offline (good old brick and mortar stores) and which mode of shopping gives one a better experience.

By Vibhuti Jaitly | Last Updated: Oct 20, 2014, 15:02 PM IST

The big debate that is going on these days is whether to shop online or offline (good old brick and mortar stores) and which mode of shopping gives one a better experience.

The ongoing festive season spares none and everybody is literally on a shopping spree for gifts and household items.

My question is why are more people, especially youngsters, making a shift towards online shopping?

Don't we get the real feel of shopping only when we actually visit markets, shopping malls, stores and hunt for the best deals, where a bit of haggling can also be done (not in branded stores though).

I feel the good old way of shopping is the best. Shopping for me is an event in itself, whereby a full day is dedicated to it.

Don't we look forward to the day we've marked on our calendar exclusively for 'shopping' amidst our day-to-day chaotic schedule. At least, I am a kind of person who enjoys retail therapy every now and then.

Picture this! I have to buy a pair of jeans or a top. Why would and how could I order for clothing online? I mean how can I purchase a piece of clothing without trying it or even feeling it? Everyone has a different fit and a size and it is not necessary that a top that a mannequin is wearing will also look good on me.

In situations like these, it is best to try on whatever you are purchasing and see for yourself.

Offline shopping has a sense of immediacy. You get to posses the item you've purchased the very moment. Who has the patience to wait for two to three days before the product is delivered when purchased online?

At least I can't! The instant gratification comes when you get to shop right then and there.

Having said this, I'm not completely against online shopping.

There are certain items that are best purchased online such as watches, gadgets, decorative items, kitchen appliances.

As technology has changed our lives, there is no running from it. We can use the technology i.e. online shopping experience for a better, comparative experience.

The 'click click' experience can come as a saviour when you face a time crunch and need to purchase something urgently; and also the cut-throat competition of predatory pricing between online and offline retailers, especially for electronic items.

I am aware that online shopping is the best experience at least for people living in smaller cities of our country where they fail to get latest gadgets, electronics and other items as not all stores/showrooms are located in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. Here online shopping comes to the rescue.

These days, it is raining discounts on online e-commerce websites just to woo customers and to cash in on the festive fervour. These e-retailers are giving crazy cuts just to catch the fancy of customers.

But the question that pops up in my mind every time I come across such deals is - Do these sites actually sell authentic goods? And why would someone sell any item at a lower price? Moreover, the lesser known brands with measly prices keep luring buyers with products, the quality of which can rarely be judged.

And before people slam me for not being tech savvy and a person who doesn't like to move along with the changing time and not acknowledging the plus points of online shopping, I have nothing against online shopping. To each his own!

But having said that, I would again like to make my point that - Online shopping is not my cup of tea, and like me, many others would still continue to go the old school way.