Whenever we plan to buy a new phone, the first thing that comes to our mind is where to buy it? Should we go for online or purchase it from a local store? In the past, we had only offline retailer as an option when it came to buying electronic products including mobile phones. However, with the emergence online players like Amazon, Flipkart etc., the scenario has changed.
If we observe the emerging Indian smartphone market, offline stores still dominate especially in rural areas, towns, and suburbs. Generally, nearly 70% people prefer to buy expensive products from offline stores. Even after considering that fact, online stores are becoming very popular with the masses.
That being said, both online and offline markets have their own advantages and disadvantages.
For example, the offline market is more dynamic and has its particular audience that cites its benefits such as the touch-and-feel experience of a phone before purchase. This is an advantage that online buyers don’t have so that they can make the decision after getting their hands on the device.
However, sometimes offline retailers trap buyers with some fake promises and sell them any other phone for which the customer was not even looking for. Let’s talk about some of these misconceptions.
Misconceptions about Online stores
No Warranty or after-sales service
First of all, offline retailers misguide consumers about online space. Many offline retailers mislead customers by saying, “if you buy from online, there will be no warranty on the device”. They also mislead consumers about the after sales support or servicing. They tell if someone purchases online, there will be no guarantee of servicing and repair. While you buy from offline, they promise to offer you servicing and warranty from their store as well.
However, this is not the case. If you are buying any phone from online retailers, you are fully eligible for the warranty period that the company is offering. Also, the after-sales service is provided by the smartphone maker, so whenever your phone needs servicing you can directly approach company’s authorized service center. You will get the service regardless of whether you have purchased the phone from the offline or the online retailers.
Selling phones of their choice
This is another annoying thing about offline retailers, that they will sell you any smartphone for which you might not be even looking for. If you want to purchase a phone that is an online-exclusive, and you head to an offline store, this might happen. The shopkeepers will first tell you that this phone is not available offline and then they will show you smartphones for which they are getting good commission and will try to sell you the phone anyway.
Offering freebies have always been one of the strategies of retailers. In the case of smartphones, offline retailers lure customers with free offerings such as free mobile cover, tempered glass etc. Some shopkeepers even offer customers free apps, in the times where everyone is having cheap data packs on their networks. In such cases, while talking about freebies they will not talk about the phone much, and divert your mind towards any phone they want to sell.
Lastly, we have seen many times, the shopkeepers don’t inform customers about discounts on a particular phone. These days smartphone companies offer discount every now and then, and we get to know these via online retailers. However, when someone goes to an offline store to purchase a phone which is on discount, the shopkeepers do not tell him about the discount and sell the phone at an older price in order to make more money.
Apart from this, it is also to be noted here that offline stores also have their cut in the phone’s price. So, most of the times offline prices are higher than online. Moreover, offline retailers often don’t have options like no-cost EMI on purchases while online does have.
Coming to the conclusion, as we mentioned earlier, both online and offline retailers have their own advantages and disadvantages. We can get hands-on experience on the device before buying if we buy it from the local offline store. But, seeing such traps of freebies, selling another device and misleading about products, it seems online retailers are the better option. Moreover, you will also get some handsome discounts and other offers as well via online retailers.
Smartphone brands in India have also realized that though online is an important channel, however, the offline market is still dominant. Following this, brands like Xiaomi and Motorola that are established online retailers for smartphones, have also opened their exclusive offline retail stores known as Mi Home and Moto Hub. Here, customers can get the experience of the device along with online benefits.