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In-store or Online – how is shopping changing?

The Christmas shopping period, unless you favour the last-minute panic approach, is currently firing on all cylinders. Anybody passing a shopping centre or high street even briefly in the last couple of weeks will have witnessed the frenzied atmosphere that comes with increased numbers of people joining the very rush they're trying to beat.

At times like these, you'd be forgiven for doubting the numerous reports warning of the high street's decline. The fact, however, is that online shopping has revolutionised the way people buy and shows no sign of loosening its grip.

The result? Despite how it often appears at this time of year, fewer and fewer people are visiting physical stores. The appeal of shopping from the comfort of your own home has stifled high street footfall.

Clearly, the momentum lies with online channels but is this really the best way? An argument can be made for both sides.

At TORRO Cases, our home in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK benefits from having easy access to one of the country's major shopping streets as well as Europe's largest shopping and leisure centre.

For those living in and around areas well served by such facilities, it can be hard to justify not doing your shopping this way.

Many people believe they can benefit from deals and promotions in-store that they wouldn't find online, and many more find it easier to have staff on hand to help should any questions arise. If you're buying for others and are unfamiliar with these products, this can be a real benefit. If a specific size of product is required, the ability to try things out for size is invaluable.

Of course, the continual rise of online shopping is also happening for good reason.

Again, it's impossible to overstate the appeal people find in being able to shop from the comfort of their own homes and have things delivered to their doorstep. The ease-factor is something that high streets or shopping centres just cannot match.

What's more, an online retailer doesn't have the costs of running a bricks-and-mortar store to cover. This means that, despite certain deals being in-store only, the cost of shopping online is largely cheaper. According to research, 53% of consumers believe they will always get a better deal online and nearly 70% of shoppers admit to doing so without shopping around first.

Price and convenience alone are enough to swing most people in the direction of their computer rather than their nearest shopping centre, but is there any way we can benefit from both?

The prominence of "showrooming" in consumer behaviour certainly suggests so. This describes the act of browsing in-store before turning around and buying online - an easy tactic to justify at this time of year given the hectic nature of Christmas shopping.

Whether buying for themselves or others, people need to be sure they're getting the right products and the right sizes. In this respect, there's no substitute for shopping in-store, but to then save money by buying online gives shoppers the best of both worlds.

The choice between in-store and online and how people shop is one of the things we find the most interesting about the Christmas shopping period.

We're preparing for it by offering some fantastic gift ideas here.

How are you preparing for yours?


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