How do you shop?

I read a nice post this morning about online shopping preferences (   The findings of the survey don’t surprise me.  The honey moon of the online shopping era is over.  Consumers that have tried both have formed their opinions based on their experiences. Marketers now wrestle with questions around which channel they want to customer to use and which channel the customer really wants to use.

I tend to opt for shopping online to avoid the traffic, parking lot searches, and waiting in line.  This gave me even more satisfaction a few months ago when gas was $4 a gallon.   Others in my household prefer the thrill of the hunt (I can hunt for bargains online too) and moving from store-to-store (Yeah, I can move from site-to-site too).  “But the deals” I hear are to be found at the stores.

So what’s the best way to shop?

I tried the store route this past weekend because I needed clothes and wasn’t sure of the sizes.  I went to two department stores and took my wife as a guide since this is about the equivalent to traveling to a foreign county with a different language for me.  I made it to a parking spot safely which was a good start (in a past excursion I wrecked the car).

Department Store 1

My wife says “70% off!  Get off the main walkway and look for the deals.”  After 45 minutes and with the help of a very nice store assistant, I had my products  Payment was straight-forward.  No cross-selling, no additional coupons, no store credit card, yaddy, yadda, yadda.

Department Store 2

It should be stated, that I only went to a second store because I couldn’t find a particular item in store #1.  (There’s a marketing lesson in that).  This store offered a much different experience.  The sale prices were better, but the store assistant was a little annoying.  I settled on a few items (1/2 off) and was ready to pay.  That’s when it got interesting.  The assistant asks if I wanted to open a store card to save an additional 15%.  I’ve done this before in the past to get the discount and then immediately canceled the card after the first bill.  As a general rule, I try to minimize the number of cards in my wallet.  I had my secret weapon though because my wife already had a card.  “No” he says, it has to be a new card.  Yaddy, yadda, yadda and I had a new card for an additional 15%.  He even pulled a piece of paper out of the drawer with a code to give me another $25 off.  At this point, my head was spinning from all the math, the assistant was happy because I’m sure he gets a commission on a new account opening, and my wife had left for the nearest shoe rack.  Help!

It should be noted that I ended the excursion by buying my wife a Christmas present, that she picked out.  I even put it on that new card to save the 15%.

So, what’s the best way to shop?

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