INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – It’s Cyber Monday! Experts say Americans will spend upwards of $9 million today alone. There’s no denying online shopping is growing in popularity. The National Retail Federation estimates that 56% of people do their holiday shopping online.
“I think online shopping is popular primarily because people can shop with some convenience from their home and in their pajamas,” said Mohammad Rahman with Purdue University. “There’s a huge amount of assortment that you wouldn’t be able to see in local stores because the cost of carrying a lot of products is very, very low versus if you’re trying to carry them in a store.”
Rahman studies online retailing at the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University. He says while cyber shopping is popular, don’t expect brick-and-mortar stores to go anywhere. Customers' trust in a brand grows when there is a physical store they can walk into.
“Even Amazon is trying to get a footprint in the physical market - that’s because they need to interact with the customers, there is the growth that is going to stagnant,” said Rahman. “However, when you think about some unknown retailers that are trying to sell online, they have no reputation. Whereas people, if they see the store locally, they’re trusting, they’re willing to start off – interact with the stores and search online websites as well.”
Rahman says convenience is also a big reason why people continue to shop at the physical store.
“Stores are going to be important for giving us the convenience of and the experience of going to the store, buying online and picking up from store and also when we have issues,” he said. “Stores actually serve a great purpose of serving the customers when there is a return or when there are issues.”
When it comes to Cyber Monday, Rahman says you can expect stores to have deals on Cyber Monday too.
“We’re going to see a lot more competition from some of these retail stores that have been traditionally very offline as such,” he said. “We’re going to see more deals coming up until we get to an equilibrium where everybody has their market share kind of carved out.”
Experts say a lot of times, stores will carry the same deals they have online in their actual stores. In some instances, stores may even have better deals if Black Friday didn’t go as they had hoped.
If you’re shopping online today, here are some tips to make sure you’re getting the best deal:
Just like when you’re comparing flights, you want to do the same when you’re buying something online. Experts recommend using a price comparison site to see what the product costs across different websites. Something like Google Shopping or even PriceGrabber are popular options.
Look on social media or emails
Some companies will give special deals or release deals early to people who follow them on Facebook or Instagram. This is also true for people who subscribe to their email lists.
Make sure to check those before you buy to make sure you’re not missing out on any special codes.
You don’t have to buy on Monday
According to Consumer Reports, Cyber Monday doesn’t end when Monday is over anymore. It’s more like Cyber Week for some companies.
And as always...
Be careful of scammers
Consumer Reports says don’t use public WiFi when you’re shopping online.
Also, make sure that the URL to the website you’re shopping at has https:// in the beginning. The ‘S’ means the site is secure and your information is encrypted.
Just to be safe, use your credit card when you shop online. If you happen to get scammed, you can dispute the charges and have a better chance at getting your money back.
As for the future of online and in-store shopping, Rahman says soon the markets may be one in the same.
“I am not a believer that we are going to have no stores around us,” said Rahman. “If you look at the numbers from the government, when we look at the retail sales numbers online is still a very small proportion of the overall retail sales we have in the economy. I think what you’re going to see is you’re going to see a blended version of online and offline.”
What does a blended version look like?
“We’re going to see a lot of deals that are showing up online but at the same time people can pick them up offline or even go to the local stores,” explained Rahman. “We’re going to see a lot more competition from some of these retail stores that have been traditionally very offline as such, we’re going to see more deals coming up until we get to an equilibrium where everybody has their market share kind of carved out.”