Thursday, June 16, 2016

Buying In-Store vs Online: The Experience

How do you buy your gear? Where do you buy your gear? In-store or online? 

I'm sure not too many of us would buy a car straight off the 'net without going to check it out and take it for a test drive. I know I can read reviews and download the specs and features of that new Toyota I want. I can even do a virtual tour of the interior of that car. But until I actually sit in it and feel the seats, drive it, play with the knobs and switches, I don't really know if it's the 'right' car for me. I suggest the same approach can be applied when considering your next gear purchase. 

Over the next couple of weeks I'll be sharing some thoughts on shopping in-store vs. online and the benefits of choosing your local music store. The topics we'll cover include: the Experience, the Sound, and the Price. Today we're talking about benefit of the experience.

Walking into a music shop is a cool experience. Great music, cool gear, the vibe, and some friendly banter and a laugh with knowledgeable staff who have real world gigging and performance experience with the products they supply all enhance the benefit of going into your local music store. Whenever I travel I'm always on the lookout for the local music shop. I'm interested in seeing what they have in stock and the opportunity to see something I've only read about or seen on-line. This is also true for when I have a day off or have a Saturday free to do a music shop crawl.

One of our regulars, Michael,
with his new Taylor 214,
posing with Dave.
Music stores provide that opportunity to actually see, touch and play and the new gear you've been reading about online or have seen on Youtube. You know that the gear is available because its right in front of you, that you can take it home today without the waiting period of postage or needing to rearrange your normal working hours waiting for a courier to arrive. Shopping in-store provides instant gratification. That gear itch can be scratched straight away.

We also get the gigging muso who has just broken a string on their guitar and needs strings ASAP for that night's gig, rocking in five minutes before closing. We've even stayed open beyond our closing time to avert an impending disaster for gigging musos facing similar problems. An open shop is there and provides immediate stress relief. You can't get that urgent, immediate service online.

Answers to questions you may have can be settled right on the spot without needing to deal with the 'keyboard warriors' that frequent the review pages or the Youtube comment fields. You can choose to browse away your day following link after link, or page after page, but that doesn't replace an interaction in a shop with a real person with real working knowledge of the product in question. My experience of working in a store is that of being a problem solver in assisting a customer find solutions. It's much easier doing this in person than over the phone, let alone online. I've also learnt a lot about gear and playing from being a customer as well. These are rewarding experiences for both sides of the counter.

Furthermore, good music store staff are there to resource and equip YOU based on your needs or desires. They can offer suggestions and new ideas that can stimulate and unlock something fresh in your creative journey. That type of personal interaction can't be replicated on-line.

The experience of shopping in-store offers real benefits to you as a customer. The personal interaction, the opportunity to actually play the gear, and the instant gratification that new gear provide are just some of the advantages of choosing in-store vs. online. These factors influence my choice to purchase from a local music shop.

I'd love to hear about your great in-store experiences that have inspired your musical journey. Leave a comment below.

Until next time!

No comments: