Buying Online vs. Buying From The Shop
Online shopping is continuing to experience tremendous growth. It is expected that e-commerce sales will exceed the $700B mark by 2023, compared to $468B spent in 2017, according to Statista.
The shift in shopping behaviors is mainly generational. Baby boomers tend to prefer shopping at traditional brick and mortar retail stores, while Millennials are more likely to use their smartphones to shop online. However, don’t count brick and mortar stores out just yet. In 2017, in-store retail purchases comprised 85% of the $3T retail sales industry, based on the United States Department of Commerce statistics. Also, most consumers still prefer in-store sales experience. A recent TimeTrade survey found that more than 70% of consumers still prefer to shop at a physical store. Additionally, consumers are also less likely to return a product they buy in the store. According to industry insiders, approximately 30% of online purchases are returned, compared to an average 9% return rate for in-store purchases.
While buying online may be more convenient; what you see is not always what you get. The product images, descriptions, and specifications may not be entirely complete or accurate. When buying a heating appliance like a fireplace insert or wood stove, for instance, it’s essential to ensure it is manufactured with quality materials and is built to last. It also needs to be the right size to generate sufficient heat for the living space. Those attributes are difficult to determine when buying an online product sight unseen. When the heating appliance arrives, the consumer will have to install the product themselves, which can be risky without expert product knowledge. Consumers’ Checkbook, a consumer research magazine, suggests consumers use caution when buying major appliances online. The product may get damaged in shipping, have performance or safety issues, or fail prematurely, quickly eroding any monetary savings that an online purchase may offer. There may also be difficulty in returning a defective product.
Buying a fireplace or heating stove at a local hearth dealer offers several distinct advantages that an online retailer cannot match:
When shopping for a heating appliance at a physical retail location, consumers have an opportunity to view different products, learn how they operate and compare features.
One of the main drivers of in-store sales is the ability to consult with a knowledgeable sales professional before making a purchase. At a local hearth store, a product expert will take the time to understand your home heating needs and recommend the best fireplace or heating stove to meet your needs and budget.
Delivery & Installation
Finally, home delivery and professional installation can also be arranged at the retail store giving consumers a one-stop-shop experience. Trained experts will also provide instructions for the safe operation, cleaning, and maintenance of the fireplace or heating stove.