I bought a new washing machine last weekend. This was perhaps not the most interesting thing to do with my Saturday morning but then it didn’t take all of the morning. In fact it took me precisely five minutes after which time I got on with what I really wanted to do. This episode was in dramatic contrast to my last experience of buying a washing machine which was a lot more painful. My latest purchase was a reminder of just how much my shopping habits have changed in a short space of time and I am not alone.
All I had to do this time was quickly examine Which? to discover the recommended models and then do a quick search online for the best price plus delivery offer. Then a few clicks later I had bought my machine and arranged for it to be delivered the following morning. I was actually quite surprised to find that I could have a Sunday delivery and it was free as well. How convenient! Indeed it was that Sunday delivery option which was the clincher and which made up my mind where to shop. Take note electrical retailers everywhere!
The last time I bought a machine it was a very different story. I wandered around my local branch of Curry’s trying to decide which machine would best suit. Inevitably, having finally made a decision, I discovered that my chosen model was out of stock and that I would have to wait for it. As I had already wasted far too much of my life on the search I was forced to accept the wait and then wasted more of life doing my washing at a launderette as my old machine had given up the ghost. The whole episode was a pain in the proverbial.
This time I was able to choose, order and receive my machine in a total time of 24 hours and 10 minutes. Indeed for an additional charge I could have opted for a same day delivery. Thank you ao.com! Little wonder that online shopping is growing at an exponential rate. I rarely bother to leave home for anything these days. Purchasing online is so much quicker. You have more choice too and it is easy to compare prices, deliveries and other benefits. You save yourself the town centre parking fees or the queue for parking at the mall and god knows what other hassles and problems.
These days nearly 20% of all purchases are made online and over 80% of those who have internet access have made at least one online purchase. This trend is set to continue and will have a dramatic effect on the shopping landscape. It is likely that only retailers who respond to the trend will survive. An online presence is essential as is a mobile friendly website because shopping via portable devices is on the up too.
Of course I have sympathy with the retailers as they have to keep up with a rather fast moving world. They have had to change their systems to accommodate selling both in store and online and whilst the internet has opened up the entire world in terms of potential customers it has also introduced a whole world of shopping to the customers on those retailers’ doorsteps. It is easy to see how some have been left behind. Small independent retailers have a battle on their hands to remain competitive in this new world of ours. Perhaps we should all make it our mission to purchase at least some things from the little guys each year otherwise we will wake up one day to find that they have disappeared.
Still, I am happy because I have my new washing machine, I got a great price and I didn’t have to leave home to get what I needed. Times have changed and for the better when it comes to the consumers but I am not sure the same could be said for many retailers.
Article by Sally Stacey