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Should I Buy A New Smartphone Online or In Store?

First, a disclaimer. Here at Mr Aberthon, we operate an online store. In fact, our “real” store was trading very successfully a couple of years before we launched our e-store. We say this to be clear that this article isn’t just to promote our way of doing things. Now the question is should we buy a new smartphone online or in store?

Cheaper Online, Easier in Store

Buy a new smartphone online or in store - 2 hands exchanging card bag from computer

The bottom line is that online shopping is usually cheaper than store shopping. Usually. By the same token, there’s nothing better than being able to walk into a store and physically handle any item you’re considering buying. Smartphones are no different in that respect.

Returning An Item is Difficult

Many online-only stores also have quite patchy returns procedures. The buyer often has to pay the postage when returning a defective item. If the item is simply no longer wanted, then fair enough, the buyer should expect to have to meet the cost of returning it if necessary. But what if an item is faulty? No way, the responsibility lies firmly with the seller. This is one of the best reasons to buy in store, where you can go and put any faulty items right there on the counter-top if you need to. However, such “personal” service sometimes carry a premium. Running a store costs money. Staff, utilities, rent, maintenance and a ton of other costs really do add up.

Similar Prices in Stores and Online

Competition in any industry being particularly stiff nowadays, and incredibly so in the world of mobile devices. Yet many sellers such as Mr Aberthon do everything we can to keep prices down. This means retail and online prices will usually be no different unless there’s a particular promotion in place for online-only deals. Of course, it’s the online prices which are honored in store. As Google is the first place anybody goes to compare prices, and not the other way around.

How to Take Advantage of Both Systems

But, as we said, online is usually cheaper if there is no physical shopfront to be maintained. Yet this carries the risk of a long winded returns procedure, or an item not being physically how it was described on the company website. Thankfully there is a different way of doing things where you get the best of both worlds.

Check it Out in Store, Buy Online

Hands delivering a shipping box

If you have an idea of the smartphone you want, but really want to see it up close and personal, then take an hour to do just that. We’re not saying buy it. Just look at it, handle it and see if it fits your needs. Then, assuming the in-store price is higher than you want to pay, go home and order it online from a reputable dealer. By ‘reputable’, we don’t just mean ‘big’. We mean one with lots of genuine reviews and a good reputation among people you know who may have used them.

Buying on Amazon

Amazon is now one of the biggest retailers in the world, but still a great many of its products are sold by 3rd parties through the Amazon website. Now Amazon are good at being there when you need help, but it all takes time. It’s also difficult if you need to contact them more than once, as you will never get the same person twice. You may often have to repeat yourself if the notes on the original call aren’t great. They’re also not always the cheapest, by the way. Often, smaller retailers with fewer overheads will beat Amazon on price. Partly because 3rd party sellers will add some of the Amazon commission they have to pay, onto the advertised price.

In Short

So, in reality, Buy a new smartphone online or in store. If you can do both at a price that suits, then all the better.

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