Shopping online vs. shopping in-store

November 18, 2009 3:23:01 PM PST
'Tis the season, and perhaps the first big question facing many people is this, "Will I do my holiday shopping online or in the store? Kivi Rodriguez says she plans on hitting the computer, "It really works on your schedule cause, you know, you can do it at 3 o'clock in the morning, you could to it at 12 noon, right before the kids, after the kids."

Euroy Smith, and in-store shopper says, "If you shop online you really don't know what you are getting, so if you shop in stores you see what you are about to buy."

Naturally, there are pros and cons to both approaches.

For online shoppers, there is the comfort of shopping in your pajamas, the convenience of doing it at any hour, and the privilege of avoiding long lines and crowded malls.

But in-store shoppers will tell you nothing beats the personal service they get from small business owners, the instant gratification of walking out with their purchase, and the ability to tackle those "last minute" gift needs.

Furthermore, retailers like those along 7th avenue in Park Slope tell us their products almost require customers to come in and test what they're buying. "Lion in the sun" is a stationary and specialty gift store.

Kalin Siegwald of "Lion in the Sun" says, "When it comes to paper, you have to feel it. You're not going to be as happy with it if you buy it online."

Diedre Donno of "Otto" says, "We offer them everything. They can buy under garments, clothing, hosiery, everything. So they can be fully done without going to ten different websites."

Online retailers, meantime, often offer free shipping and gift wrapping as a way to lure customers. But, personal finance reporter, Mary Pilon of the Wall Street Journal, says the biggest savings sometimes require more than just a click of the mouse.

Mary Pilon says, "They'll see an online offer for a really low price and they'll take it into a store and say you can match this, this is what the online retailer is offering."

That's why some merchants use their website to drive customers into their stores. In the end though, retailers simply want your business, no matter where you do your shopping.