Aliza Asad: Why is online shopping so alluring?
Phuc Pham: Sometimes you can’t go to the physical store. There are certain brands that don’t have physical stores.
AAsad: Right, but there are so many problems with online stores. I just ordered something from Topshop, which is based in the UK, and after I got the shirt I realized I didn’t like the style or the fabric so now I have to worry about sending it back since I can’t go to the physical store.
Archel Arindaeng: It’s the satisfaction of getting something from Topshop. That’s the big risk of online shopping — you can’t try it on.
PP: But there are sizing guides online and are meant to be accurate.
AArindaeng: There are good deals online. There are deals where if you buy over a certain amount, you get free shipping. That’s how they lure you.
AAsad: So then you end up spending more online than you would in-store.
Tyler Christian: But at the same time, people order a lot of times from mainstream sites, whether it be Amazon or Target. I feel like the kind of sites that have artist design stuff that aren’t being mass-marketed may sell for more; but you are getting more for your money than you would from other sites. For instance, I order from Redbubble.com, which is all artist-designed so it’s something you aren’t going to be able to go out and get at Kohl’s. You get that feeling of exclusivity.
AArindaeng: That’s the whole market for handmade, like Etsy. I used to have a store on Etsy called Style Raiders, and business was kind of slow because of price competition with mainstream stores.
TC: Even for Redbubble their stuff isn’t necessarily cheap, but you get what you pay because you’re not going to be able to find it anywhere else.
AAsad: What is everyone’s favorite online store to shop from?
TC: Redbubble and Ript Apparel.
PP: I don’t have a particular one, a lot of what I buy is from street wear companies and they don’t have brick-and-mortar shops and a lot of the brands I buy you can’t find at PacSun or Zumiez. It’s very decentralized. Their online presence is how you get their stuff.
AArindaeng: Mine is Store Envy. It’s kind of like Etsy, but more independent. The big difference between big stores and little stores is big stores overcharge on shipping and it turns you off sometimes.
TC: A lot of the time for mainstream stores I just buy the things in-store because I know if I go online I’m going to get ripped off.
AArindaeng: That’s why you spend a lot — to avoid paid shipping.
PP: I think online shopping is more for people who know what they want, or if they follow a certain brand.
TC: If you physically go to the store you can’t trust that something will be there all the time.
AAsad: For me, physical shopping is better because it is instant gratification. You see it, you buy it and it’s yours. But for online shopping, you buy it then you wait and are in constant anticipation for your item to come in.
AArindaeng: Maybe you just have had a bad experience since you ordered from Topshop in the UK.
TC: And for Amazon you don’t have to worry about that because they have some of the quickest shipping.
PP: And then when you get it, it’s like a mini-Christmas!
AAsad: There’s just a great feeling after leaving a store with something you really wanted.
AArindaeng: But the best feeling is going to your mailbox and seeing all of your packages.
TC: Whenever I get a package notification email from Camino, I immediately go to the lodge.
AAsad: That’s because it makes us feel important, like “Wow, something came for me!”
PP: It makes my Friday a lot better knowing there’s a Supreme package waiting for me. It gets me through the day.
AArindaeng: Online shopping is great because you get to sit in bed with your pajamas and just click.
TC: I think online shopping will get more popular because each year I find myself physically shopping in store less and less. There’s something about ordering online where you feel you are going to get what you want, especially because it is more exclusive.
PP: Physical retail shopping is also a user experience; to walk through the store and pick things that you can’t do online. I think there is definitely an argument for buying in-store if the store is a good store and creates this experience for you, like when you are in the only Supreme on the West Coast.
AArindaeng: That’s what it was like when I went to the Topshop in London — I was in awe.
PP: Some stores, like J. Crew, just have a really great layout and environmental design and I think there will always be a space for physical retail stores.
Archel Arindaeng is a fourth-year business economics major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aliza Asad is a second-year international studies major. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Tyler Christian third-year film and media studies major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phuc Pham is a fourth-year literary journalism major. He can be reached at email@example.com.