Should You Resist or Embrace Shopping Online?

Shopping Isn’t What It Used to Be

Two things never change: One, there’s always change, and two, the young are the first to embrace change. They are the first to adopt new technology and follow new trends. The older we are, the slower we are to accept change. Like it or not, shopping online is one of those technology-driven trends.

The younger you are, the more likely you are to prefer it over brick-and-mortar shopping. Research shows the percentages of physical store shoppers dramatically drops for the youngest age group in the market:

  • Baby Boomers (54 – 72 year-olds) at 31.9%
  • Gen X (39 – 53 year-olds) at 27.5%
  • Millennials (24 – 38 year-olds) at 31.04%
  • Gen Z (4-23 year-olds) at 9.6%

Wow, only 9.6% of Gen Z’ers shop in physical stores.

I can tell you first hand my 15-year-old has no interest in physical store shopping. He buys food online, clothes, birthday gifts, basically everything. He does not understand the need to hold a book and flip through its pages. He doesn’t need to touch fabrics. That is so old school.

Even with the older age groups, the percentages of physical store shoppers is below one third.

Clearly, online shopping is one of those changes that’s here to stay. According to the Harvard Business Review, no industry is failing faster than retail!

The 125-year-old Sears—once the world’s largest retailer—filed for bankruptcy. And we have major chains shutting their stores all across the country: Macy’s, Sears, Toys ‘R’ Us, Kmart, Kohl’s, The Limited, and Barnes & Noble to name a few.

On the flip side, e-commerce grew 22% in 2019 and it’s not slowing down.

Do You Still Want to See, Touch, and Try Before You Buy?

So what do you do if you’re one of those hold-outs? One of those in the dwindling percentage that prefers brick-and-mortar stores?

Personally, I’m a fan of online shopping. I rely heavily on it when shopping for myself and my clients. My advice is for you to consider the advantages of online shopping:

We have more success. When I am looking for a specific type of clothing item for myself or a client, I can search for the size, favorite brand, color and style. I can search not just in one store but across all stores. I have a much higher likelihood of finding exactly what I want. If you live on the East Coast and the only store that has what you want is on the West Coast? No problem!

We have more options. Small brands compete with big brands online, and that brings innovation to the market. For example, I have a client with hard-to-fit feet. In the past this would have mean’t taking her on a tiresome shopping expedition, going from store to store in search of the brand and style that would work for her. Now with online shopping, we are able to buy many brands, have them shipped, try them on all in the comfort of her home, and return what doesn’t suit her. Even better, I found a company that can custom make shoes to fit her feet in any style or color she wants! How awesome is that?

We get the best price. Once I find what I am looking for, I do an Internet-wide search to check if it’s available anywhere else for less. I’m always frugal, and if I’m shopping for a client, she saves money.

We get it faster. When you consider how much time it takes to schedule a shopping day and go around to multiple physical stores, you just can’t beat online delivery times. And don’t worry—that no longer means underpaid, overworked staff are running around a warehouse to serve you. It also doesn’t necessarily mean more carbon emissions as things are delivered. Amazon is on the leading edge of package delivery systems—they expect to use drones to deliver 75%-90% of their packages in North America by the 2019 holiday shopping season.

We get better customer service. In physical stores we experience the broad spectrum of human interactions with service personnel: those in good moods and bad moods, those with pleasant personalities and not-so-pleasant personalities. With online shopping, automation is taking over much of this role. It is expected that 85% of all customer interactions will be handled online without the need of a human by 2020. Automation is efficient and responsive. It never gets irritated with you, so you can stay calm, too. Yes, automation means a loss of a job for some, but it presents new opportunities for others. Technological advances have always changed the way humans work, and historically we have adapted. I believe this is another opportunity for those of us willing to change.

We can shop more ethically. Have you seen my Ethical Ensembles™ Encyclopedia? I am a huge advocate for understanding who made our clothes and how they were made. Sadly, the fashion industry is a major contributor to modern slave labor. Much of our clothing is made in factories under sub-human conditions by women and children who are paid well below a living wage. These same clothes are made with dyes that pollute the planet and fabrics that overload our landfills. Please download my Ethical Ensembles™ Encyclopedia so you can learn everything you need to know about the clothes you buy and the stores you buy them from!

Shopping tips

Are You Persuaded Yet?

As a professional shopper, I embrace online shopping.

  • It allows me to shop whenever I want from the comfort of my home.
  • It enables me to find virtually anything I need to buy.
  • It gives me the opportunity to buy with confidence that my choice is the most economical and the most ethical.
Let’s Hear From You

What do you love about online shopping? What is still holding you back?

I’d love to get your thoughts on the topic in the Comment section below.

Stay Tuned

In my next blog, I’ll cover tips and techniques for getting the best experience from online shopping. If you’re not converted yet, maybe my next blog will nudge you to the other side. If you’re already converted, you might learn something that will make you love online shopping even more.

3 replies
  1. Jenny Knisley
    Jenny Knisley says:

    Online line shopping is here to stay but it sure doesn’t help our small downtown Towns. We will have to come up with other types of experiences to entertain and keep our buildings vacant. Then there is the issue of all the vehicles used to deliver. I’m sure the drones will be more and more. Interesting and exciting to be a Gen Xer. Thank you for the article. Lots to think about.

  2. Gail
    Gail says:

    It is hard to argue against the convenience of online shopping. Each time I go into a store to buy something only to find they don’t have it in my size, I just pull out my phone and order it online. At the same time I think about the people who will no longer be able to get a job in retail once their store closes. I wonder what they will do to earn money. Without a job, how will they keep health insurance? How will they find meaning in their day?

    I grew up in an area where my day was often filled with taking public transportation, walking among my fellow human beings and shopping in stores. I had many random encounters with fellow human beings, I got exercise walking to and from, and I enriched my life seeing all the activity around me – street vendors selling food, construction workers building new buildings, moms taking their kids on expeditions. It was a rich and stimulating environment which engaged every one of my senses.

    Gen Z is to be pitied as they miss out on these experiences, chances to impact random human beings with their presence. Sure it is convenient to shop online, but so much of life is being missed for the sake of convenience.

    I just sent my 15 year old to see a friend. I could have driven him, or I could have ordered him an Uber in the name of convenience. Instead he is taking the metro and walking to his friends house. Not so convenient but so much more enriching.

  3. Gabriella
    Gabriella says:

    Hey Cyndy! This is a great and engaging piece. I really enjoyed the research in it as well. I’m a millennial and I enjoy online shopping. It is just more convenient. There is something so exhausting about going into a store and pining around for the right top or dress. It’s kind of exhausting. If I buy something online and it doesn’t fit perfectly (which they never really do) I just get it tailored. I’ve been entertaining how fun it would be to make my own clothing lately. Sometimes I get ideas of clothes I like (for instance an emerald green dress) but can never find one that is up to my standards of elegance and trendyness. Can’t wait to read your next blog post!


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