The Advantages of Brick and Mortar Stores

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About a week ago, I released a video in which I explained my ongoing issues with Best Buy. Since then, Best Buy has contacted me regarding the steps they’ve taken to correct the error regarding the coupon I was unable to have honored at the time I purchased a cable modem. Brandon, a member of the LockerGnome team, has had a very different experience at his local Best Buy. In a recent video, he explained some of the advantages of brick and mortar stores like Best Buy. While my perception of one store or another may differ from the next person, he did make some solid points.

I love to shop online. The majority of the things I purchase come through Amazon or another online retailer for a multitude of reasons. There are, however, some clear advantages to buying from brick and mortar stores.

First and foremost is the concept of instant gratification. I know when I walk in to a physical store that I will likely be able to walk out with the product I came to purchase. This is a huge plus when you need something at a moment’s notice (like a cable modem) and you can’t wait for an item to be shipped to you.

Even with today’s technology and efficient shipping process, packages arrived damage more often than I would like. This is a problem that exists across the board no matter which company you decide to go with. At the shipping facility, boxes can sometimes create a jam in the conveyer which results in a cascade of events that can result in damaged goods. It happens, and can be a real disappointment when the package arrives. A retail store (the good ones, at least) typically deals with damaged goods before the products hit the shelves.

After purchase support is generally much better at brick and mortar stores than if you go with something online. I can usually take a malfunctioning product in and get a replacement on the spot without having to deal with the nightmare of shipping something back and maybe getting a working product in return. Some stores offer free returns and give you your money back if you’re dissatisfied with a product they sell. This is less common in online retail due to the costs involved with shipping and restocking to their warehouses.

When you shop at a local retail store, you have the advantage of being able to speak with someone that might be able to point you in the right direction. You may have a vague idea of what it is you’re looking for, and a knowledgeable associate should be able to find something to meet your needs. On several occasions, I’ve walked in to a store and asked for something they don’t have. I’ve been caught off guard a few times by an associate that let’s me know where I can find what I’m looking for, even if it is at a competitor’s store. This is a level of service that can keep people going back again and again.

It’s hard to ignore the many advantages to shopping online. Merchandise is often cheaper and you can browse around for the best price much faster than you could by visiting physical locations. Some online stores offer free shipping on their products. Still, brick and mortar stores have their place and a good one should definitely be supported.