With the prevalence of online shopping in this day and age, you’ve probably first turned to searching for the perfect lighting for your home online, and then flipping through page after page of catalogues and design magazines. What happened to offline shopping, when you can personally experience both the products and services, and truly savour the joy of decorating your dream home?
Online and offline at a glance
Shopping online is extremely convenient, fast and efficient – You can buy almost anything and everything you want online, and they get shipped right to your doorstep. However, the advantages of the offline retail experience are well cemented too. It remains the more popular shopping channel for consumers and cannot be matched by online when it comes to customer experience. In a bricks-and-mortar store, customers are able to enjoy a unique and memorable shopping experience, and direct, physical interactions with the business owners/staff.
Quality, missing parts and warranty
Jimmy, a lighting expert at Azora, one-stop gallery for interior design products in Singapore, observes, “Some customers love to shop online, or even overseas e.g. in Johor Bahru, because prices are usually cheaper and they get to choose from a huge variety. However, problems arise when they are unable to fix the lightings in their homes due to missing (spare) parts, or when the products do not turn out the way they look online.” He added that customers who are very price conscious will go for lighting purchases online such as from Taobao, a mega Chinese online shopping site. They will nevertheless have to face the consequences of defect or low-quality products, or when they arrive in Singapore damaged during the shipping process.
Safety and void of fire-insurance claims
Besides the need to self-assemble lighting products bought online, consumers have to be aware that most of them do not carry official certificates, e.g. the Certificate of Conformity under the Singapore Consumer Protection (Safety Requirements) Registration Scheme, or passed safety tests. Hence, in the event of faulty appliances causing a fire in the home, or electrical trips et cetera, consumers run the risk that the entire fire insurance for the home is not claimable, in addition to safety concerns.
Touch and Feel
Proximity to the supplier or merchant is king when it comes to purchasing interior design goods. Besides being able to “touch and feel” the actual products, you get prompt and accurate assistance and advice when you install your lighting fixtures. Azora, for instance, provides a one-year onsite warranty for their customers, and a one-for-one exchange for faulty products. They employ great service by personally attending to their customers, in their stores as well as in the respective customers’ homes. Fancy some recommendations or have a customisation request? Azora caters to that too, with no hard-selling tactics, unlike some of their counterparts and even competitors in Malaysia.
Browse online, buy offline?
There’s been a recent trend of not just traditional retailers opening eCommerce stores, but also online retailers investing in physical locations. The lines between online and offline retail are starting to blur. That’s because 85% of consumers want a unified experience across both. Azora recognises this opportunity and to create a more flexible shopping experience for their customers, they also have an online store to complement their showrooms (3 in Singapore).
To build trust in their customers, lighting shops in Singapore are also active in rewarding them incentives with more purchases, or even referral discounts. They also partner and collaborate with local interior design firms for cross marketing initiatives, and to reach out to new markets and customers with the increased exposure. With 15 years of experience in the industry, Azora is a reputable firm which emphasises on excellent service, a one-stop shopping destination and multi-channel retailing to consistently meet their customers’ expectations.