Shopping online can be a great way to save money, as you can comparison shop. With multiple options for buying certain products, we have a number of places we can look in order to see prices. We can look for the place that offers our product for the best price, and then make the purchase.
Now, buying online might have some distinct shortcomings, and one that jumps to mind right away is the ability to actually see something. Not everything is a commodity where we know exactly what we’re getting, and whether or not it’s a good fit for us. Clothes come to mind as an immediate example. But even beyond that, we might have a number of other things we would like to buy, such as electronics for example.
Whatever the case is, there is one way to avoid this issue: Showrooming when buying.
It’s simple, really. Go to a retail store, and take a look at the product. If you like it, you might consider buying it there. Instead, you can go online or use price comprison apps to check competitor prices. If you can get it cheaper elsewhere, just buy it elsewhere. Use your smartphone immediately to decide, after seeing the product in person, if it’s worth your time to buy right there on the spot. Or not.
I just went through this practice, this week. I was thinking of buying an iPod touch for someone as a gift, and thought I would check it out in person while I was out at a local store. After liking what I saw, I determined that it would make a good – albeit expensive – gift. A quick check of prices determined that I could get it for $7 less by simply ordering online, including shipping. So, I walked out of the store without it.
Not that $7 is an astronomical amount to save, and one could certainly argue with real validity that the time I would spend later to buy it, along with the risks of shipping around the holidays, might not make that small amount of savings worth it. Fair enough, in this specific case.
However, in other cases, where timing isn’t of the essence and the products are perhaps different, the value proposition could be much more clear. You could simply look in person, then order later - all the while saving more money while waiting a short while for your item to arrive.
I do feel a tiny bit guilty, but rationally I know that it’s not warranted. Business is business, and you have to save when you can. Showrooming can be a good way to get the best of both worlds, seeing the product in person and getting the best online price.
Readers, have you ever showroomed? What do you think are times when it can be worth it?