Why I Buy Stuff Online

I would like to talk about a recent trend I’ve noticed about my purchasing behaviour: buying things online.


After my recent debacle with Cities Skylines (which is awesome, by the way!), I was left yearning for some more RAM for my PC. I was really happy with the RAM I was currently using (Amazon link here), I decided to buy another pair of chips to boost my RAM up to a whopping 16 GB.

When I popped into my favourite PC parts store, I was disappointed to find that they did not have that particular model and color in stock. I somewhat expected this, because the product is quite old. So, I figured I’d just look online to see if any other local computer stores had the RAM in stock. I was shocked to find the price of the RAM from a local store here to be roughly $120, twice as much as the Amazon-listed price.

I’ve had many people ask me why I prefer to buy things online. Well, this is the reason. I do understand that running a local shop is more expensive. You have to not only pay rent for storage of the goods, but also salaries for your staff. However, I refuse to let people rip me off on a piece of relatively outdated hardware. I am willing to pay a slightly increased price to buy from a shop. However, paying 200% of the original price is absurd.

Fact of the matter is, it is cheaper for me to ship the item from Amazon to a parcel-forwarding service, which will then ship it to meĀ via courier (not Aramex) and be delivered to my doorstep. So, in essence, I pay 50% less, but wait about a week for delivery. Additionally, they deliver it to my doorstep. I don’t have to deal with traffic while I go to pick up my package at the post office. I’ll take that deal any day.

Funnily enough, I have had previous experience with this ridiculous 200% markup on items here in Dubai. This applies particularly to top brands and very special items. I bought a set of Wusthof knives last year. While I was shopping around, I took note of the competition’s pricing too (Zwilling knives). When I walked into a cooking store at one of the malls over here, I saw the same set of knives, only twice as expensive. Now there’s a good business. Buy something from the US, ship it here, double the price and sell it.

I find it funny how store owners complain that they’re losing business due to online stores. Many of them fail to see online stores as actual competition. There are advantages to buying things online like the low prices. On the other hand, there are advantages to buying things from a physical store like getting the item in hand instantly. If you can find the perfect balance between price and convenience, customers will have no issues paying the premium for the convenience they get. I sure will. I’m a kind of impulse buyer. I’m very willing to pay a little bit extra for something if it means I can get it yesterday.

Non-online store owners: If you really want to compete against online stores, set fair prices. No one is asking you to sell goods at prices lower than online stores. But doubling the price of an item is a great way to sink your business. People will be more than happy to buy from physical stores if they can get the item right away. I know I would. I’d much prefer that, than wait for a week or so for delivery.

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