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Weekend Open Forum: Do you try in-store and buy online?

By Jos · 23 replies
Sep 13, 2013
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  1. Shopping online is all about convenience and better prices, but sometimes you just need some hands-on time with a certain product before deciding to part with the cash. Retailers loathe the practice of “showrooming”. After all, they have to pay...

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  2. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,763   +435

    Only for certain stores. Absolutely refuse to purchase from Harvey Norman (local electronics/furniture chain) because they have gouged for at least a decade - charging above retail price routinely, jacking prices before sales etc. They deserve absolutely no loyalty but clothing stores, decent electronics stores I'll buy from them, particularly if the sales assistant is helpful. Happy to reward good service.
  3. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,840   +1,184

    I've done it, but I've also bought things in a store specifically because the sales person was really helpful.

    One thing you should never do is tell the sales people that they should charge less because 'it's cheaper online' That's pretty rude.

    Showrooming isn't wrong and it isn't immoral, but it is kinda rude. So if you're gonna use the store to view a product, at least do your own online research instead of making the sales team at the store explain everything to you.
  4. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 757   +213

    A lot of the time I do my research online and then go in store to view the product and ask for a discount. If the discount is cheaper than online + shipping I buy it there.
  5. howzz1854

    howzz1854 TS Evangelist Posts: 611   +94

    A lot of times you can't even find it in stores. but hells yeah
    GunsAblazin likes this.
  6. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,635   +695

    Not really. I do a lot of research before buying online, so 99% of the time I'm happy with my purchase. If I'm not satisfied, it's so easy to do online returns these days, there's just no point in going to a brick and mortar store. Really not interested in dealing with crowds and uneducated sales staff.
  7. yRaz

    yRaz TS Evangelist Posts: 2,146   +1,223

    If the price difference isn't that great I like the store, yeah I'll pay the extra buck. Especially if I'm buying a high profile device and I like the sales associate
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,529   +2,316

    I shop my best from specs and reviews, then buy online for the most part. I'm ready to accept the consequences of my actions if that doesn't turn out. But that doesn't happen, save for the very rare occasion.

    At Best Buy, the selection is so poor, save for flat screen TVs, there's almost no point in going there for computer product, and nobody could afford to build one from parts with their prices.

    Then too, BB seems to have changed the interior colors and lighting of their stores. Now, just walking past the entrance at night seems to be a cold, depressing, and forbidding experience.

    OTOH, There's a "Microcenter" about 12 miles from my house, and I always enjoy the ride going there. Their sales force however, is commissioned and aggressive. Accordingly, I don't bathe or dress well when I go. Sometimes their board & CPU combos are at prices low enough to put Newegg to shame. So yeah, I but from them from time to time. That said, some of their prices are sky high, for things such as video cards& HDDs. However, one time they sent me a coupon for $25.00 off, no questions asked on anything, and I scored a Cooler Master "Storm Scout" case for $32.50....!!!
  9. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    I usually look in store unless it is something I really know the background of.
  10. Anything possible to buy online I buy online. I loathe having to get in the car, drive to an overcrowded parking lot, navigate around all the large/old/slow/stupid people, just to stand in line for several agonizing minutes while some underpaid nitwit tries to figure out what buttons to press on the cash register... Yea, I'd rather read reviews and do the transaction from the comfort of my own home. If I didn't ever have to go to a store again in my life I would. Which is a little ironic as my job is to fix and install point of sale systems.
  11. aspleme

    aspleme TS Enthusiast Posts: 56

    I usually buy online simply because the selection and prices are better. I like to look at a monitor or TV before I buy, if I can, because there is something in the aesthetics that doesn't show up well enough in pictures, and reviews don't tell me well enough if I like the look of the product. Two things I really wish I could try in a store (I'd even consider paying a bit of a premium to get them there) gaming keyboards and mice. The feel of these devices matter more than anything you can learn in a review. But even what few are sold in stores like Best Buy, the models are not on display the way standard mice and keyboards are... so I'm really stuck buying online and hoping I like the feel.

    One thing I won't buy without trying is a phone. I'll read dozens of reviews on various different phones, but I still need to try it myself to know if I'll like it. And since I've always been signing a new contract when I get a new phone, I will buy wherever is cheapest, though there usually isn't much, if any, difference on phones I've wanted.
  12. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,173   +3,263

    I will purchase in-store, if I see something in-store I want. If I don't want to bother with in-store, I will do my browsing and shopping on-line.
  13. Railman

    Railman TS Booster Posts: 708   +101

    When shopping for laptops or TV I normally buy from John Lewis. They are not the cheapest but their after sales service is very good and their prices are not excessive.
  14. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,103   +422

    I had to think about it but so far I haven't done that, tried in-store and then bought online.
  15. ETF Soldier

    ETF Soldier TS Evangelist Posts: 439   +112

    I tried my camera out in PC World before I bought it from Amazon...
  16. Tekkaraiden

    Tekkaraiden TS Evangelist Posts: 997   +93

    I used to, but the cost of shipping across Canada usually negates any savings buying online. I also like appreciate instant gratification.
  17. mrtraver

    mrtraver TS Guru Posts: 363   +59

    I've been guilty of using Best Buy as a Newegg/Amazon showroom, but I tend to research online first so I already have a good idea of what I want. Then I might check out a store to see if they have a display sample to try out or a retail box, and if the price is close or I have to have it right now I'll buy from the store.
    Wendig0 likes this.
  18. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus TS Evangelist Posts: 2,636   +491

    Pretty much the reverse. I research / shop online, then if the shipping is a significant component of the price I will pick it up at a local store (as long as price is close). Since I am in the semi-boondocks, I buy most tech products from online sources. A 20 mile trek to find a HDD for 50% more is not my idea of fun or smart.

    I guess if I were in an urban environment it would be different.
  19. Spykezxp

    Spykezxp TS Addict Posts: 294   +73

    I have gone into stores just to view an item that I ended up buying online. I also have researched information online and then purchased in a retail store. It all depends on the item, the cost (to include shipping/handling charges) and if I received good customer service while in the store. Sometimes an online deal is just too hard to pass up, but you still want to get a closer look before you buy.
  20. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,119   +121

    I'm a reviews shopper, and a couponer. I scour the weekly mail circulars for local deals on tools and stuff, then look up the items online to read the reviews. If there is a big difference in price, I print out the online deal (usually from Amazon) and take it into my local store to see if they will price match. Most of the time they will. If they won't, I use my Amazon Prime membership. Whenever I can, though, I support my local shops by buying their products.
  21. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,164   +549

    About the only time I buy in store, is in an emergency situation. Item crash, dead drive, board, whatever and it has to be up and running, then I'll buy in store. Most of the time, I buy online because 99% of the time, even with shipping (Amazon prime, no shipping charge), it's cheaper and I'm not in a hurry.
    The only other time I buy in store, is if it is something I may want to return, because it won't serve my needs, doesn't work as I intended it. It's usually easier to return direct to the store, than deal with returning it to an online retailer.
  22. matrix86

    matrix86 TS Guru Posts: 828   +32

    I usually research online, but if I'm buying something like a phone, tablet, or laptop, I'll actually go to a store so I can get the physical feel of it. Then, if it's cheaper online with shipping, I'll get it online unless it's something I need ASAP that can't wait 5-7 days.

    The only store I buy from is the Microcenter down the road from me. They have good prices and the staff is friendly. Nobody has tried to push anything on me yet and they leave me alone when I say "no thanks, I'm just looking. I'll find you if I have any questions. Thank you, though."
  23. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,363   +67

    I usually do it a different way. Formerly having worked at 2 newspapers, their way of business has gone to my head. I usually look thru newspaper ads and find the lowest prices, and this determines what I buy. When I go to Best Buy, I usually don't find the models advertised (unless it's a Best Buy ad, for example) at the showroom, and those there I usually cannot find online either. A little tidbit is that black friday is coming up; some of the best deals on computers/tvs ever seen, usually found in the newspaper. We bought our first hi def tv like that at Walmart at an incredibly low price at the time (friend Gregg paid $8000 for his first, ours was $600). There's a Micro Center 3 miles away (Fry's 4 miles) and Micro Center sends me their ad twice a month. Got 2 free Tenda routers from them with a coupon (gave the coupon back to get the second), and both are still in service, one with my brother and one with a client. Only wep encryption tho, but what do you want for free? They said all encryption is breakable anyway.
  24. davislane1

    davislane1 Inquisitor Posts: 4,505   +3,502

    If I walk into a showroom it's either to buy or browse. The one caveat would be for items with large discrepancies in price. If I am interested in a product and visit a physical retailer to check it out, if there is a major difference between the brick-and-mortar and online prices, I will order online almost invariably.

    The practice itself I feel can be a bit dishonest but it's hardly damnable, as some would suggest. The purpose of business is to generate profit by providing customers with something they want at a price they can afford. Showrooming only reflects that consumers are going to lookout for their economic interests whenever possible, and there's nothing wrong with that. The only time this becomes a problem is when they're dishonest about their motives. I've seen some people showroom as if they intend to make an in-store purchase, picking the brains of employees, occupying their time from other customers, etc. and, frankly, it's a tactless display. If you're going to showroom, being honest with the employees you're dealing with is the way it should be done. In my experience, it also develops a much better rapport than the alternative.

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