Raving about makeup, skincare, hair and other little obsessions... A Beauty Blog

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wicked Wednesday: Shopping Online vs. Retail

Source: livingnotesfromnyc.blogspot.com
 Like a lot of women, I'm a self-confessed shopaholic. I'd like to believe that I'm not as bad as some, seeing as I am able to walk away from a good bargain or refrain from buying something I don't need. So for someone who is big on shopping, I am very much aware of the great shopping debate: online vs. retail.

There is an increasing number of consumers hopping on the internet to shop. I'd know because people around me, including myself, have hopped on the online shopping bandwagon. Now, I'm trying to get off it and it's a bit hard. Why am I trying to get off it? After all, there are so many advantages to shopping online.

Source: mamamia.com.au

  • It is much cheaper. 
  • It's easy. Just a click of a mouse without getting our butts off our seats. 
  • It's time-saving. Don't have to drive anywhere or walk for hours. 
  • Access to brands or items that are not available locally. 
  • It's much cheaper. 
  • Delivery is not always guaranteed. Just like a lot of things, mail can get lost too.
  • Fakes. The internet is crawling with them. 
  • Does not always come with warranty. 
  • No physical samples. Not from the online store anyway*.
You're probably think "blah, blah, blah, I've heard all of that before." Most of us are willing to take the gamble. Here the pros outweigh the cons. I mean, real stuff that we want at a cheaper price! Why not? Well, there's a lot more to it than that. Here are two big reasons why buying online can be a really bad thing.

Source: en.wikipedia.org
The Damage
  • Retail is dying. This means that more and more people will lose their jobs or there will be fewer jobs available. 
  • We're losing money. Whenever we buy things from/in other countries (whether online or physically), our money/currency flows out. The other country becomes richer and ours becomes poorer. That's why we're always encouraged to buy locally.  
 It doesn't sound like it will affect you (or maybe it already has). Try thinking back on those summers when you were in high school, you worked in shops to make more pocket money. It is thanks to those retail store owners that you had a job to make money from. The simplest solution is to get retail stores to compete with online prices but most can't or won't. Online stores are usually one-man-shows, running with very little cost. Retail store owners have to pay for staff, rent, equipment, furniture, renovations and tax. All those are expensive, particularly in Australia. 

Source: jugglingair.blogspot.com
What do we do now? 

If retailers want to survive, they should also stop being so greedy and lower their mark-up price. It is understandable that they need to make a profit (otherwise you can't live, can't buy food to feed yourself) but it should still be reasonable.

As Australian consumers, we should support our own economy by buying products locally whenever we can. Not only will we be helping those who work in retail, we'll be helping those who work in factories. We do not want any of our factories moving to China or Vietnam.

As people who work in the retail sector, we must do our best to give the best service we can. This justifies our high labour cost. The more we can sell, the less likely our bosses will go bankrupt and the more likely we can keep our jobs. Service is a powerful weapon. It's something that online stores cannot easily provide.

Lastly, I would like to clarify that I am by no means admonishing you for buying things online. As a consumer, it is your right to buy what you want wherever you want. Now, I only purchase things that I can't obtain locally online. Everything else that is available in shops/stores, I buy from them... unless they give me terrible service! I am only encouraging you to support your fellow Australians, just like how you'd like them to support you. Don't be afraid to ask for a good deal or a discount from retailers. Subtly remind them that you are here to support them! 

Disclaimer: I am by no means saying that everything in this post is 100% true and correct. These are merely my opinion at this point in time with the knowledge that I currently have (hence the bias that is evident in this post). If I've offended anyone in this post, I sincerely apologise.

What's your take on this? 


  1. i barely buy in stores anymore.. its partly cos the fashion that we get in aus is so much behind compared to the rest of the world.
    if our fashion/beauty/overall industry was as good and cheap as america then i would gladly buy in stores... why is australia so behind in releasing everything anyway >:(

  2. Hey linny,
    I think it's partly because we're far away and our seasons don't match up with the US. Plus, US has become the "trend-setter" because everyone chooses it to be. If the world tomorrow decides that Aus is the trend-setter, then we'd be "ahead". It's all relative I think. :)

  3. I agree with Linny; our fashion is way behind and we get everything LATE.

    Think makeup - stuff that's been out for months or even a YEAR in America is totally new to our shores.

    I buy in stores when there's a sale and I can justify paying a little bit less for an item that I want. If there are no sales, I usually buy from a cheaper Australian website, like Glossi.

  4. Companies save money where they can by moving production away from Australia and to China (in the process sacrificing plenty of Aussie jobs) so why shouldn't I save money where I can too? I refuse to line companies' pockets. If they can't compete they should get out of the game.

  5. Hi Alice, I do the same. I usually wait around for sales before I buy something. :)

    Hi Millie, I know what you mean. It's horrible how greedy they are but wouldn't you buy Australian Made products locally? :)

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  7. I'm an online shopping addict, especially being over here in oz, its still great that I can shop some of my fave stores! That Collect+ is such a great idea!
    Online Shopping ideas