Purchasing Tech Online vs. In-Store

Purchasing Tech Online vs. In-Store

Gregory Han
Oct 12, 2009

So I'm here right now pressing my Gmail refresh button every few seconds like that annoying guy at the crosswalk light who thinks pressing it 231 times will make it switch faster. But in my case, it's because I placed an online order for store pickup after canceling an Amazon order after waiting what felt like eons for notification about delivery...

I'd say I order online 90% of the time for just about everything (except groceries, since our household is committed to the local farmer's market and the occasional Trader Joe's run). But when it comes to home electronics and appliances, online retailers offer the best prices and selection, so I pre-ordered a new point and shoot digital camera for hiking expeditions and other travel activities to complement the hefty Nikon D90 that mostly is used for Apartment Therapy/Unplggd related duty.

Unfortunately the excitement of being one of the first to receive the new point and shoot was deterred by what seems to be an overwhelming online pre-order response, resulting in the absence of even receiving an estimated shipping date from the online giant, Amazon. All the while, the local Best Buy has the camera in stock and ready for pick up. Thus, my initial order was just cancelled about 45 minutes ago and I just received an email notification that my new camera is ready for pick up in store.

But here's my question to you, readers? Some of you might consider me a bit foolish for doing so, but I ordered this camera without a hands-on test, based on online previews, past experience with Canon products (I'm a Nikon DSLR fan, but Canon all the way in the point and shoot category), and company specs. I've done the same on numerous occasions for other products, but note some customers feel it is a necessity to see something in person before committing to a purchase. Do you feel it necessary to see a product in person, in-store, before purchasing it online or there at a retailer? If not, in which cases did you purchase without trying it in person?

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