Buying online vs. buying in person in Dubai, UAE – What makes online shopping the clear winner


The battle between online stores and traditional stores is on. But it looks like that the online stores are at an advantage. What makes online stores better? What must the brick and mortar stores do to stay in business? Is there a way to beat the competition? Let's find out.

The exponential growth of e-commerce has been a major highlight of the millennium. The last few years (or should I say the last decade) have witnessed a monumental growth of the e-commerce sector. It has changed the way we shop. Even though online shopping has fast caught on, it hasn't sounded the death knell of the physical stores. They are nowhere close to being extinct. They continue to be a distinct, yet unique value proposition for their patrons.

Yet, there is this growing belief, backed by some statistics of course that more and more customers are turning to online stores. So, why do customers prefer to shop online as opposed to shopping at a traditional retail store? Convenience is perhaps the answer. Especially in shopping destinations like Dubai, UAE.



Online shopping offers convenience


Trends are changing, even as physical content is being replaced by digital, in every sphere, we have online stores being patronised more often than the traditional shops and stores. Online sales have risen steeply, over the past decade, almost dwarfing the traditional retail market. In the wake of online stores, the conventional-stores are witnessing some strong competition. It might be worth evaluating what makes online shopping so much more favoured than shopping the old-fashioned way.

Understanding the pros and cons


Online retailers offer competitive prices mainly because their overheads aren't very high. Online shopping sites often gives a lot of deals in Dubai. However, when it comes to on-the-spot delivery, the brick and mortar stores win hands down. Regulars at physical stores do tend to stay loyal and often splurge when shopping. Yet, online marketing, has since its conception, been growing at a steady pace and shows no signs of waning. The online retail giant, Amazon, recently floated its plans of delivering goods within half-an-hour, using delivery drones. The e-commerce sector is gearing up to match up to their brick and mortar counterparts, in all aspects, closing the gap that exists. It is now up to the latter to up their game, if they want to remain in business.

What works for online marketing


There is no prize for guessing what makes e-commerce the roaring success that it has become. It is, most definitely the convenience it offers. Shoppers no longer want the shopping process to feel like a chore and naturally pick the path that is hassle-free, even if that means having to pay a little extra for the service.

Consumers today put their own comfort over the price of a product. They refrain from store-hopping, in the hope of better bargains. Pricing of commodities is among the least of the factors that give physical stores a competitive edge. So, retailers running physical stores must think out of the box to make in-store shopping more appealing to the customer. That is one way to avoid being a casualty to the online undercutting.

'Brick' vs. 'Click' – the competition


Online retail business thrives on two key factors – the convenience and flexibility they offer. How is that so? When shopping online, the customer is the real king. Comparison of brands is just a click away. Potential customers can check prices and the availability of colours and sizes, within seconds of something catching their eye. They can avail of online tools that allow product comparison, making a selection, a tad easier. Such as this price comparison website in Dubai that allows potential buyers to compare models, brands, prices, specifications and features and more, with just a few clicks. The traditional retail shops do not offer the same experience. And despite almost 'heroic' efforts of checking various stores, the consumer fails to get satisfactory and instantaneous results.

Online retailers are progressive in their marketing approach. They use advanced, cutting-edge technology that has a two-pronged advantage. They keep the potential customer engaged and stand to gain from this. A small example is the advanced POS systems that most online stores have introduced. This merging of new technology with business is a recipe for their success. This software allows consumers to browse through an entire digital inventory that a store has to offer. While this can greatly satisfy the consumer, it is highly productive for the retailer. It keeps the potential customer glued to the site, presenting them with different options based on their preferences. Given that customers can pick and choose, with such convenience, they are more likely to make a purchase.

The stiff competition that exclusive online stores present to the traditional stores is difficult to beat unless they smarten up their business strategies, and match techniques adopted by the online retailers. To stay in business traditional stores must diversify, and a good way of doing this is to offer a hybrid shopping experience to shoppers' that allows them the option of shopping at both retail outlets and online stores.

Smart strategists have already done so, like Hamleys and a number of fast-food outlets. They have allowed their businesses to retain their charm, by merging the two worlds. Even as online retailers expand their customer base, physical retailers would fare better if they work towards enriching the customers' in-store shopping experience, by providing a better selection, improving service with the convenience of online shopping.



Looking through the crystal-ball


If you were to foretell the future, the likelihood of online stores completely obviating the brick and mortar stores might appear implausible. Traditional stores are not going to die down, but they will certainly suffer business losses unless they take adequate measures to increase the footfall. And one way to do so is to increase their online presence.

Eventually, the sustained growth of the Internet of Things is surely going to blur the thin yet momentous divide between e-commerce stores and regular physical shops. There are definitely better days ahead for consumers, who will soon find shopping a more profitable and productive experience – combining the joys that in-store shopping provides with the flexibility and immediacy of online shopping. Online shopping is the future that complements the fast-paced lives of today's consumes, and the brick and mortar stores need to capitalise on it and make it part of their business strategy and make their business Boom!


Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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