Let’s look at one of those controversial questions, online or in-store? As consumers, do you feel it more appropriate to support your local store or your wallet (assuming that price is your only concern)? I guess I look at it from two perspectives, as both an angler/consumer and an angler/business owner.
My aim is to remove the emotion from the discussion i.e. you won’t hear a “I’m loaded and I don’t care about the cost” or “it’s my money and I’m a poor ‘insert title here’ with no money” scenario from me but to look at it from a realistic, value based perspective. Online shopping is perceived to be easier, select, pay and receive delivery sometime after that. It is convenient and can be purchased from your desk, your phone or tablet.
The in-store experience has one variation, which is the tactile experience of the actual purchase. Being able to pick up and view from almost any angle you want, the purchaser has the additional information source in determining their decision to purchase.
The internet has allowed the consumer to gather information from additional sources, from blogs (like this one), forums, review sites or manufacturer sites prior to making a decision but one aspect that is lost is that tactile stage of the purchase process.
There is an element of consumers who go in-store, view and assess their purchase before going online to do the purchasing, in essence using the shop front as part of their research without the intent of purchasing in store. This may be due to a price point or other reason but utilises the knowledge of the staff, as well as adding the tactile element of the purchase process. Ethical or moral? That one I’ll leave up to you.
We purchase products based on the value they hold (not just their price tag), there are plenty of low cost lure options available and plenty of higher cost options too but we purchase the baits that work, based on their success and the balance of value i.e. I own plenty of Megabass lures because they are great lures that catch fish but do cost a bit more.
Let’s look at the service component, sure there are plenty of poor service examples out there and they will dominate the discussion but there are also plenty of great service experiences to go with it. Heading into a tackle store knowing that the staff are knowledgeable and helpful, for me, is worth money and store owners or managers make that money and attract those staff by having potentially higher prices. Store fronts also pay rent, electricity and other costs, while providing the experiential component of having walls and a roof, lights and those knowledgeable staff.
I’m not saying you won’t receive this from an online experience, one of lureandfly.com’s friend’s, www.fishin.com.au, is a great example of a positive online and in-store experience that delivers exceptional value for money. For us anglers to be able to continue to have this personal service but also have top tier, as well as subsequent tier brands in Australia, the shop front is vitally important.