Black Friday Shopping: Why I Now Shop Online
When I was younger, my mom and I would wake up at zero dark thirty, head to the stores for Black Friday shopping to get those once in a lifetime deals. However, in the last 5 years or so I have started doing all my Black Friday shopping online. Why? Because I can do it from the comfort of my home, most products are delivered in a few days with no delivery fee and I can easily compare prices from different stores without running all over town. I love online shopping. However, I decided to brave the stores this past Black Friday and into the weekend. I went to 3 stores and all 3 struck out.
Strike 1: Best Buy
This past Friday after Thanksgiving, I noticed that Best Buy had a 55″ TV on sale for $199. The TV on our porch had recently died so I was looking for one that wouldn’t break the bank since it will be exposed to the Florida heat & humidity on a daily basis. Against my better judgment, I decided to head to Best Buy to take a look at their TVs. Of course they didn’t have the one I wanted but they had hundreds of TV so I decided I’d go ahead and buy one since I was already there. I found a cart, loaded my TV, got in line and paid for the TV. When I finished, I asked the sales associate if there was anyone who could help load the TV into the car since I was by myself. The answer was simply ‘no, we are too busy’. I stook there like a deer in the headlights. What do you mean you don’t have anyone to help load a TV in the car? What happened to customer service? All I was asking was for someone to help put the TV in the car, not deliver it to my house. I managed to wrangle the TV in the car myself and drive it home. Strike one against shopping at a brick and mortar.
Strike 2: Macy’s
On Sunday, my mom and I decided to head to the mall to do a bit of shopping. The day was more about spending the day together than it was shopping and I was expected the mall to be packed, but it wasn’t. I easily found a parking space and met my mom. We had lunch and then headed to Macy’s. Macy’s had what seemed like the entire store on sale so we both picked out a few items and headed to the register to pay. Macy’s used to have great customer service, but it is gone as well. There is always a wait to pay, typically no one around to help and the store looks like a rummage sale. We probably waited about 15 minutes to pay for our items. When we got to the front, the sales associate said to swipe our credit card because that is how they offer coupons now so we did. She rang everything up, told us the total and we paid. When we got the receipt, I noticed that something was on the 50% rack did show a discount so I asked the sales associated. The response ‘Oh it must have been on the wrong rack because it’s not 50% off. There’s no discount on that item.’ I thought that was odd because I had bought the exact same item before with a discount so I looked it up on my phone. Sure enough, if I ordered online there was a 25% discount. What’s the point in going to store if you can get better deals online at the same exact store. Macy’s should close all their stores and just become an online retailer because there is no reason to actually go into the store anymore.
Strike 3: Walmart
Let me start off by saying that I never shop at Walmart. The stores look like a rummage sale, there are never enough cashiers for the number of shoppers and parking is challenging but against my better judgment I order Apple Airpods Pro online for in store pickup because they wouldn’t deliver them. I placed the order on Saturday and planned to pick up on Monday. When I got there I asked the greeter where I needed to go and she said to head over the big sign that says online pickup so I did. At first, I thought this was so cool. There was a huge kiosk where you scanned the barcode from your order and it would be delivered to you so I scanned my barcode. There’s a screen that has a status and it was showing one other person ‘checked in’ so I sat down and waited and waited and waited and waited. The status never changed, no package ever came and I never saw a person so I logged onto my account while sitting in the store and canceled the order. I was frustrated with myself that I thought Walmart could deliver. Headed home and ordered from Apple.com.
So, what are the takeaways from my experience:
- Online retailers are going to continue to dominate especially if they offer free shipping and can get the product there in a few days (i.e. Amazon). Online sales were $7.4B on Black Friday alone this year.
- For a brick and mortar company to service they either have to be so cheap that most people don’t care about service (i.e. Walmart) or their customer service has to be top notch. In other words, they need to offer something I can’t get online.
- I will go back to doing all my shopping online for future Black Fridays
- I will continue to avoid Walmart
This also points out the need for a mobile-optimized website. As more and more people turn to the internet for their shopping and other experiences, having a mobile ready site is not longer a desire by a necessity. If your website needs an upgrade, contact us.