The Shopping Experience - Offline vs. Online

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The idea of shopping ignites various impressions of different people. For a housewife, the grocery shopping experience is monotonous, but for a wife, the clothing or jewelry shopping experience is beautiful. Quite similarly, our very objects of shopping define our mood and experience. The modern-day life, technology, and marketplace make it possible for us to shop from anywhere and anytime. The online and offline modes of shopping have their own merits and are subject to a great debate.

The accessibility to the internet, smartphones, and continuous improvement in technology has made the idea of the online marketplace a reality. The brick and mortar stores, Kirana stores coexist with the virtual market.

The evergrowing online market space is dominated by various companies serving almost every item available on the shelves of brick and mortar shops. The broad spectrum of popular online portals like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Big Basket, Grofers, Pharmeasy, Zomato, Swiggy covers almost everything on a person’s shopping list. The user-friendly interface of these portals, the ease of doing transactions, and home delivery are attractive propositions for a customer. It saves time, energy, and efforts involved therein.

The local Kirana stores and brick and mortar setups are still popular because of their proximity, immediacy, and hassle-free service. The local stores offer goods often on credit, unlike the online portals. No one can take away the touch and feel experience associated with offline shopping. The spectacle of choosing the right product after comparing different varieties is what gives a sense of security to the customer.

The advent of online channels of shopping has undoubtedly impacted the local retailers. Customers often visit the local shops for window shopping and checking the price of the products. If the same product is available for a better price online, they make online purchases. The customer loyalty shifts with the price factor in India. The online portals often woo customers through mega sales, deep discounting, and attractive cashback offers. Owing to this competition, the retail shopkeepers try to please customers through their interaction and conversation.

The recent lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus established the supremacy of the retail outlets. The consumers flocked to these retail outlets since the online deliveries were not possible. This instance once again proved the fact that retail stores continue to be the backbone of shopping and therefore form an essential element of the supply chain. The time was just right for Reliance Jio to open Jio Mart, a digital medium to deliver groceries from local Kirana stores to the houses.

The shopping experience is always unique, be it offline or online. The idea of going out to shop still excites the child in us.

Written by - Harshit Somani

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