We are the internet generation, surrounded by smart phones and social medias. A study has been carried out in the US, where people spend time on their phone roughly 5 hours a day. According to Nie & Erbing in the year of 2000, they found that the more we use the Internet the less time we spend with “real people” (Nie and Erbring, 2000). True, We tend to spend more of our time on social medias such Instagram and Twitter than hanging out with our friends or families. Moreover, social media has become a market for businesses to promote their products and services. This encourages people to shop more. Thus, the existence of online shopping website tools gives access to varieties of product such as clothing, makeup, groceries, and furnitures among others. It is very convenient and only one click away. Online shopping was first introduced in 1979 by Micheal Aldrich who is an English entreprenuer (Aldrich Archive, 1982). Online shopping is very popular nowadays, people all over the world are crazy about it and is regarded as the trendiest way to shop. Online shopping is the most convenient way to shop. How about in store shopping, is it not relevant?
The internet has revolutionised , shopping has become one click button away. According to Tariq, Jafar & Arif in 2014, E-commerce is a Platform which allows shoppers to buy products from a distant place without having physical presence and the transaction process becoming simple and convenient (Taraq",Jafar & Arif, 2014). For example, the consumer wants to buy makeup from Sephora websites, they do not have to wait in lines to pay. They do not have to experience the “pollution” shopping experience to browse for makeup. It is also beneficial for international consumer such as Brunei, we do not have Sephora physical store, the nearest store would be in Sabah which takes hours to reach. With this Sephora website, we can save time and also car fuel. Even so, the dark side of online shopping, consumers can not touch or feel the product in a physical sense. It is understand that buying online product is very risky, what if the product size or colour differ in real view, what if the foundation does not match to your skintone. Sometimes when the ordered product arrive turn out to be broken. From my past personal experience buying clothes online from Instagram. I bought an outfit for festive Aidilfitri season, valued for RM600. It was a lovely grey ‘Baju Kurung’, but when my parcel arrived, it was a different design and the colour was purple. The texture of the cloth was not i imagined it would be, it felt inferior. I made a complain but can not be returned, the seller refused to.
From my past personal experience mentioned above, it was a major concern for consumer nowadays of fraud and scam. Fraud committed online against individuals has become a global problem (Button, 2012; Levi, 2008; Smith, 2010). These can happen to consumer buying from small independent business online and unreliable/unknown websites. Unlike shopping from ASOS, Fashion Valet, Walmart, Amazon and other well known websites offered money back guarantee meaning if a buyer is not satisfied with a product or service, a refund will be made. These websites also secured our payment. However, it made you think why risk your money and why make yourself a victim of fraud, credit card scam, bogus website and etc when you can shop in store. It has been argue by Wang, Chen & Jiang in 2009, they said consumers may not be buying online because of credit card fraud and unable to touch or feel the product (Wang, Chen & Jiang, 2009). It has been state by Jubayer in 2015, the reason for consumer refused to shop on the internet is because of lack of trust . Shopping offline can be so much reliable, enable shoppers to see the actual product before buying and would not have to be worry about fraud. Shoppers can experience way much better and received the product prior after paying. It is very important for customer to feel satisfied with their products bought.
Back to the question, is offline shopping not longer relevant? Shoppers can not be dependent on online for instant purchase needs. Offline shopping which also known as traditional shopping still will be important. Online shopping would not be a helpful in urgent situation due to delivery services may take up more than three days. However, offline shopping is not available 24 hours unlike online shopping. Due to the rapid growth of online users, people tend to be more dependent on internet which led to the changes of our habit lifestyle, some people might just want to stay home rather than stuck in traffic. Moreover some online shops now offer cash on delivery and home deliver. According to Robert Putnam in his book Bowling Alone, he claimed that we are increasingly turn into “suburban hermits” prefer to stay at home with television and computers rather than engaging in civic life (Putnam, 2000)
It may be concluded shopping online and offline is both crucial. It can not be justify, which has more benefits and which has more negative. It all depends on the consumer preference. Some consumer believed offline shopping lack of variety and facility compare to online shopping. Some people preferred to traditional shopping as it is more comfortable. There is still so much to argue.