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Group Discussion topic:-

Physical store or an e-tailer – which one would you prefer for shopping?

Introduction:

As e-tailering encroaches with unexpectedly bigger discounts to lure consumers—some fall for it naturally and others come up with complaints—there is disapproval and resentment amongst big and small physical store retailers. Their battle seems to peak ahead and along with that increases a never ending confusion amongst consumers when a shopping spree is about to be carried out. From buying anything to almost everything, we are faced with a decision to make: online shopping or a visit to physical stores?

Physical stores:

1. Retail therapy: The pleasure of physically touching things we want to buy is nowhere comparable to virtually viewing them on screen and placing orders to receive them after a few days. Shopping sprees are therapeutic according to scientific studies and the pleasure one gets (especially women) has a healing nature associated with feelings of inner happiness and satisfaction.

2. Reliability: Picking items from a physical store is always more reliable since we get to touch, see and scrutinize the product before taking them home. Physical stores provide real assistance regarding the usability of electronic products, for instance. Ever noticed a small disclaimer at the base of e-commerce sites that says: products might appear different from what the images show?

3. Exchange: It is very common to find defective or broken products inside the box. We immediately hop out to change the defective product to the brick and mortar store but the same cannot be said about e-tailer products. They do have exchange policies as well but the hassle of sending back the product along with relying completely on customer support executives is burdensome leading to most consumers not even bothering to return the defective products.

4. Trail: We can go for a trial of some products (like clothing, shoes and jewelry) at the physical stores which is absolutely impossible with e-shopping. There are always concerns like whether or not it would look good on us. There are size issues which can be assured only when you have physically tried the product.

5. Free of scams and faux-passé: While shopping at physical stores, you can be sure of one thing—being free of scams and other threats like hacking of high security information while paying online. We all witnessed the Flipkart “Big-billion day hoax” which turned out to be beneficiary for the company if you can look part from the controversies they are now faced with, but at the same time it was irritating and stressing for customers who faced the problems of errors, out of stock issues, discounts after price inflation, etc.

6. Good for health: Shopping at a mall or retail outlet involves walking around which is good for health especially these days when more and more people find it difficult to spare some time for physical exercises.

e-tailers:

1.Convenience: E-shopping is convenient since it saves time and doesn’t leave you tired. You have the advantage of shopping at any time and from anywhere. You get access to all luxury products even if you are on an itinerary to the most remote places of the country. E-tailers are a blessing for those busy people who hardly have time to spend on shopping sprees.

2. Saves money: Most online stores offer products at lesser price compared to retail outlets where prices are usually hiked for maintenance and other charges of showroom. E-commerce has the facility of direct shipping from wholesalers and hence the middleman costs are avoided due to which you get the products at comparably lesser price. Even during festive seasons, retail outlets could never compare to the discounts offered at some of the online stores like amazon and snapdeal.

3.Easy Comparison: While buying products online, you have the facility to compare those products with other similar products and investigate the reliability of each by reading reviews and complaints of other consumers. You can be more assured about the durability of the products along with their side-effects and drawbacks. Prices of similar products and brands are also comparable and hence you have access to the best quality available and the best prices offered.

4. More options on merchandise: E-tailers provide us with far more option than what you can expect at any physical outlet. Since there is no physical inventory management involved, we have access to almost everything that is available under the sun in a particular category.

5. Ease with heavier products: They deliver products at your doorstep relieving you of the problem of carrying heavier products. Charges associated with transporting products like furnishes and bigger appliances is saved if they offer the policy of free home delivery.

Conclusion:

E-tailering has its advantages at present times when convenience, saving time and money are the utmost priority of consumers but the fear of getting trapped in scams and hoax deals prevents many of us from shopping online. There is absolutely no harm in e-shopping if we are careful and avoid getting lured by impractical deals and offers. Furthermore, after the flipkart fiasco Government of India has announced the formation of new e-commerce policies which would go towards avoiding such situations in future.

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E-tailing is definitely a new phenomena but it has its impact in-depth to the lifestyle of the people. With the emergence of the Internet, the physical stores have lost their charm evidently and our older trends of enjoying the shopping has been lost. Is that so, with people of all age- groups and economic status? Now this is doubtful whether e-tailing can accomodate people of all sections.

People in today’s world don’t have time enough for family, or friends. Personal life has been lost somewhere. In such a scenario, people can hardly find any leisure time for stuff like shopping and recreation. It has been an evolving trend to shop everything online and getting the things delivered at home. This is the busy life in metropolitan cities and people working in MNCs, for whom e-tailing is more of a status symbol than comfort or time factor. People definitely have grown lazy to have any sort of physical exercise and try to find more and more comforts in the lifestyle.

The local markets and retailers are having a tough time with this Internet age. Still, in a country like India many people still go out for the shopping of day-to-day usables, where they can satisfy themselves with the quality of the product. Its is mainly the young generation today which is paving way to the e-tailing. But the e-markets can never steal the show and charm of physical stores.

Even today we can find the collegeans crowding the markets around the city for shopping and hanging out with their fellow friends. When we move to places other than the metropolis, local markets definitely suppress any e-shopping. Thus, physical stores would always retain their charm and be the prime preference of the masses

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