Grant Westbrook
SVP, Global Marketing Director, Mintel

Let me start by saying that in general I’m a big fan of online retail. I regularly do an “Ocado,” I’ve purchased fridges, freezers, and washing machines online. I buy all of my music and rent movies online. I do it because I think it’s quick, easy and probably going to give me the cheapest price.

I’m not alone either.

tumble dryer

According to our research 48% of people shop online to save time. (It is the main motivation for doing so.) 47% of people like to look online for inspiration. 2/3 of people think that prices are better online.

One experience recently made me question this.

I was looking for a small tumble dryer, (not the most exciting thing in the world.) I had gone through my regular sites finding massive variance in pricing from one site to another. I had looked at price comparison sites, I ran searches, clicked on product descriptions searching for allusive measurements in hidden product detail tabs. What I thought would be simple, quick and easy turned out to be a hair pulling, time consuming exercise in frustration.

And then, one Sunday, on my way back from soft play (I have a toddler – hence the importance of the tumble dryer) I stopped at a Comet. Hallelujah! Within 5 minutes I had found three options all considerably cheaper than I had found online and that were definitely the requisite size. Within 10 minutes I had made the purchase, arranged a delivery and left. I even got a text before delivery and it turned up on the right day at the right time. AMAZING!

Now this is just one experience and of course online shopping in lots of cases is great and easy. Maybe I was lucky? But it’s easy to get into habits and habits aren’t always a good thing. So with the growth of online shopping and the development of social shopping let’s not forget the beauty, simplicity and convenience of the shop.