Lately in my office, let me be specific and date it to close to 9 months from today, online shopping has become a rage. From things as simple as a pack of handkerchiefs worth Rs. 200 to smartphones and tabs worth Rs. 35000 and above, everyone prefers to make purchases online than go to market stores.
The reasons to buy online include the following –
1. Not having to actually go to a store. This is one reason I don’t agree with for you are taking a risk being a lazy bum that you are.
2. Online stores taking “guarantee” of the well-being of the purchased goods. Well, you haven’t physically seen anyone taking a guarantee, have you?
3. Huge discounts. One such example was a 3 day offer on Nokia Lumia 920 when it could be bought at Rs. 18000, the real market price for which is Rs. 34000. Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? According to me, these cases only come when the product has a flaw that most people are ready to forgo but realize it only later that the problem is always there and noticeable. In the case above, please check out the weight of a Nokia Lumia 920 from its specifications.
4. Option of Cash on Delivery. Well this one spooks me out a bit. What if the guy coming to collect your cash isn’t safe? What if only a weak female is available at your home to pay? Would you want her interacting with a stranger who may start to feel comfortable at your own home?
Whereas on one hand, I find it very handy to make such purchases for it reduces a lot of pollution and fuel with fewer visits to the real market, on the other I find that you end up spending a lot of time and effort doing research for the product you want to buy. This also comes with the uncertainty that the product could be tampered with and the buyers expectations not met. For example, some smartphones come with extra accessories when bought from the market but those accessories are omitted while buying online which reduces the price.
Then there may be cases when the product is faulty. What if the screen of the smart phone you bought 2 days ago, starts flickering? Whom do you contact and what would be the online stores turn-around time to get the product replaced? Did you pay 35000 bucks to wait for 7 days for it to arrive and then another 7 days after the fault occurs, to start using your phone? The incessant hassles that this procedure carries are sometimes not worth the efforts.
Then there could be cases, one that happened with me, that the courier services go on strike or are short of delivery men. I got my stuff in 16 days owing to this problem. There are too many middlemen in this process which makes it even riskier.
Some people even get duped when they haven’t done enough research on the product and the reputation of the online store. I have seen books getting delivered in 20 days. Smartphones being faulty and getting replaced. Someone had to get his glasses changed for the vision of the glasses didn’t match his own. The company had to send their doctors to match the vision and supply another pair of glasses.
Isn’t it better, at least for dearer products, that we go the market store than buy them online? Why not simply indulge in risk-free behavior? Buy the product, open it right there and check it for its quality. The shopkeeper is still fully responsible for the product and will remain answerable till you are satisfied. No confusion. Even if the product is faulty, replacement is assured on the spot. If another piece isn’t available, you may have to wait for another 7 days but then you can sit at home relaxed knowing that there is someone (not virtual) physically on your case. You have someone ass to chase down if required.
I just feel, online stores use our laziness to their advantage. They know that they can never be chased for they don’t exist, until they really show up and you have phone numbers and email addresses and then, the store address itself. Just taking guarantee of the product doesn’t cut the permutations and combinations associated to a faulty product.
Well that’s my opinion. Anyone else has a say on this?