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Ways to Improve Your Shopping Experience

Abby Slutsky is primarily responsible for all the shopping in her family, but occasionally brings reluctant shoppers with her.

Shopping during sales is one way to get less expensive prices at brick and mortar stores. Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

Shopping during sales is one way to get less expensive prices at brick and mortar stores. Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

Whether you shop online or prefer to browse in brick and mortar stores, you are bound to experience some problems shopping that reduce your shopping pleasure. Physical stores and online stores each have their own unique set of consumer shopping problems.

Shopping Problems and Solutions for Brick and Mortar Stores

Common shopping problems in brick and mortar stores include:

  • Parking problems
  • Out-of-stock items
  • Insufficient staff
  • More expensive pricing

1. Parking Problems for Shoppers

No one enjoys driving around a mall parking lot and aggressively trying to get a parking space. One way to reduce the likelihood of wasting time trying to get a parking space is to arrive at the store as soon as it opens or to shop an hour before it closes. Mall and shopping center lots are likely to be less crowded at these times. Alternatively, you could take public transit or get a ride so that you do not need parking.

2. Out-Of-Stock Items

The limited space in a physical store restricts the amount of merchandise they can carry relative to online stores. Therefore, if you go to a store with the intention of purchasing something you have seen online, it is best to contact your local store to make sure they have it before you go.

3. Insufficient Store Help

It can be difficult for stores to find help, so there may be times where you are unable to get the assistance you need. Sometimes salespeople may only know their departments and may not be able to assist you with merchandise questions about products outside their specialty. During the holidays, you may encounter a surplus of temporary staff that does not know the products or store layout well. If you know what you want, contact the store in advance to find out the location of the department and floor. You may even be able to arrange a time to meet a salesperson in some stores.

4. More Expensive Pricing

Many stores offer higher or more discounts when you buy purchases online. Physical stores can be more expensive to run than online stores. Displays, store fronts, staff and other incidental costs add to the total price of the products. An online purchase can, but not always, go from a warehouse to a consumer with less preparation than selling it in a brick and mortar store. Thus, the increased in-store costs may cause some stores to not accept discounts for online purchases causing customers to be disappointed.

If you intend to try to use an online discount, be sure to ask if the store will honor it before you try to make the purchase at a physical store. Stores vary on their policies. Try limiting in-store purchases to times when they are advertising a sale, or shop at the ned of the season when physical stores need to move inventory for better prices


Online shopping is convenient, but it has its own set of problems for shoppers..Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Online shopping is convenient, but it has its own set of problems for shoppers..Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Shopping Problems and Solutions for Virtual Stores

Shopping in the comfort of your home, at work, or at school is convenient, expecially if you do not drive or do not have access to a car. Nevertheless, online shopping does have its own shopping problems. Here are some shopping problems that online shoppers face:

  • Unwanted marketing email
  • Inability to judge item's quality or size
  • No control over item's arrival
  • Possibility of stolen package

1. May Invite Unwanted Marketing Email

Most online stores encourage you to provide your email, so they can give you updates on your purchase and provide confirmation of it. However, it is not unusual for the stores to send excessive marketing emails in the hope that you make other purchases. Some stores will send marketing emails multiple times in one day. The best way to avoid constant emails is to sign in as a guest and not provide your email. Alternatively, eliminate this shopping problem by unsubscribing as soon as you receive your confirmation or product.

2. Cannot Feel the Quality of the Items

Shopping for some items, especially clothing, can be problematic for shoppers because they cannot see the item or feel the quality. What appears to meet your needs in a picture may not when you receive it. Reduce this online shopping problem by measuring yourself and using size charts. Additionally, take the time to read a lot of reviews. Former purchasers may comment on washability, fit, fabric and other details that can help you decide what size to order or whether the product is likely to satisfy your needs.

3. No Control Over Item's Arrival

To some extent, shoppers have the option of choosing several shipping options. However, if it is offered, most shoppers probably choose free shipping. No matter the shipping chosen, there really are not guarantees that the item will arrive on the date promised. If you need an item for a specific occasion, it is best to order it well in advance.

4. Online Orders May be Stolen

Even if your package arrives timely, you may be at work, running an errand, or in a location that does not allow you to accept it immediately. Often it will be left at your door, and anyone can come by and grab it. Consider sending the product to a storage locker or another location that can accept it no matter when it arrives.


Solutions to physical store shopping problems can help enhance your shopping experience.

Physical Store Shopping ProblemSolution

Difficulty finding parking

Shop at off-peak hours (near store opening or an hour before store closes). Get a ride to the store or take public transit.

Out-of-stock items

Call ahead to ensure item is available before you go.

Insufficient store help

Call to ask questions about the location of the item and pricing before you go. Some stores may allow you to arrange for sales or shopping assistance in advance.

More expensive pricing than virtual stores

Shop sales or ask if they will honor coupons for online items. It depends on the store what they will do. Know the online price before you go; some stores will match it.

Online shopping can be more pleasurable if you take steps to eliminate common shopping problems.

Shopping Problems Unique to Online StoresSolutions

Unwanted Marketing Email

Sign in as a guest and manually write down your confirmation of the sale. Unsubscribe as soon as you receive the product.

Inability to see and feel quality of the item

Read reviews, take accurate measurements of yourself, and use size charts.

No control over shipping arrival

Order early, and choose the shipping option that has the best chance of meeting your needs.

Possibility of package theft

Send the package to a location that can always accept it.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Abby Slutsky

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