Online or brick and mortar?

LogoOnline shopping has grown in popularity over the past few years, but Covid-19 has taken it to a whole new level. Here in Canada, e-commerce giant, Amazon, uses the postal system to ship parcels. For the past couple of months, Canada Post has been handling volume comparable to the usual Christmas rush. I’ve made a couple of orders myself, but when it comes to clothing, I’m definitely a brick and mortar shopper even though I live in a teeny, tiny town that doesn’t boast a single clothing store!

There are several reasons why I prefer to shop in conventional stores. First of all, I like to actually see the garment that I’m considering buying, feel the fabric, and examine the workmanship. I can’t do that looking at an image on my computer screen.

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Fit is another important reason why I choose to shop in person. Size charts and customerScreen Shot 2020-06-03 at 2.00.26 PM reviews are helpful, but nothing beats trying the garment on and standing in front of a three way mirror. I could probably do quite well ordering tops online, but pants are my nemesis. I’m tall and thin with a very boyish figure, sometimes referred to as a pencil body type. Made for more curvy girls, pants that fit my waist often bag at the hips. I usually have to try on several pairs to find the ones that fit me well and flatter my body type.

Shoes are another item that I would have a very hard time buying online (except for this pair that I had already tried on in store). My feet are very narrow, so again, finding ones that fit well sometimes involves trying on several pairs.

I realize that online purchases can be returned and that many companies seek to make that process as simple as possible, but it’s still a hassle and there’s often additional cost involved. The fact that our town doesn’t have a drop off point for any of the  courier services adds further complication. I do wonder how often someone ends up keeping a garment that would have been returned to the rack if they had picked it up in a brick and mortar store. Chances are those items don’t get worn very often if at all.

There’s also an emotional and social aspect to personal shopping that’s absent when purchasing online. While setting aside time and actually going to the store requires more effort, the personal attention of trained customer service staff often enhances the experience and, of course, in-store shopping can also be shared with friends. Finally, there’s the luxury of walking out of a store with exactly what you want and not having to wait for delivery.

As pandemic restrictions gradually lift, we’re likely going to see long-term changes to the shopping landscape. Sadly, some retailers, especially those that were already struggling financially, may disappear entirely and others may move to an online presence only. Hopefully, however, there will always be a place for in-store shopping!

Do you prefer to shop in person or online? If you shop online, do you have any tips that you can share?

5 thoughts on “Online or brick and mortar?

  1. I am loving the virtual option cabi has for clients in this season of covid 19 especially the free returns! I do however truly miss the personal interaction that an in-person experience offers. I miss people and zoom only does so much.

    • I agree with you totally, Deb, and at least in the case of the cabi virtual parties, your customers see more than just photos of the garments and are able to ask you questions. It’s not the same as being there in person, but it’s been a good alternative.

  2. Pingback: What happens to your returns? | Following Augustine

  3. Late to the party here…ha! I prefer to shop in person if possible. Pictures don’t always tell a true story. Fabrics can be really cheesy, the construction poor, or the fit just isn’t right. I read the posts out of order and read the one about the returns first. I will think more carefully about ordering clothes online now.

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