Just a few decades ago, the concept of a centralized store where you could buy everything and anything you needed all in one place was an amazing innovation that transformed how the world did their shopping. Go to the local grocery store and buy all the food you and your family would need for the entire month. Or go to the local department store and stock up on new clothing in time for your children’s new year at school. It was convenience at its finest. But in today’s world, is it still all that convenient?
While much of the overall shopping experience at retail stores hasn’t changed much, the supposed lack of convenience is only coming about as a result of the direct comparison to the the new wave of online shopping. Rather than shop around in a physical store, you simply browse the internet to find what you are looking for – once you find what you want, you click a button to pay instantly, and your products are delivered to your door within a few days. And while online shopping does require that inherent delivery time which is non-existent for retail stores, the shopping experience itself is much more efficient compared to shopping at a typical retail store.
When you go to a retail store, you have to make time just to get to the store itself (not to mention getting back after you’ve finished shopping). And even though retail stores all vary in their exact location, it is not unreasonable to expect at least 10 to 20 minutes of transit to the retail store of your choosing.
Once you are at the store itself, you also have to account for all of the time spent walking around, keeping in mind that every time you think of something new that you may want to look it, you will have to walk to the new section just to make it happen. Compare this to online shopping where if you want to look at something different, all you need to do is hit a few buttons and you are quickly shopping once again. In fact for that matter, if you wanted to change “stores” altogether, it would be just as quick to do so online, compared to shopping in-person, where you literally have to leave the first store, and then walk (or even drive) to the next store before you can actively start shopping again.
Although not something for the American worker to take pride in, studies have shown that Americans spend 1.7 hours a day shopping online while at work. If you’ve done any online shopping before, you can readily imagine just how much quality shopping you can get done in that 1.7 hour period, and all without having to get up off of your seat at work no less! On the flip-side, I think anyone would be hard-pressed to imagine doing any real meaningful retail-based shopping in that period of time. Especially in a world today that values time and making good use of it, there is no denying that shopping at retail stores takes too much time out of your day compared to the alternative of online shopping.