You don't get a smile online

Robins Kitchen Mackay employees Amanda Parfitt, Jan Rogers and Judy Nixon are proud of the level of customer service they deliver and say you can’t get the same personal touch online.
Robins Kitchen Mackay employees Amanda Parfitt, Jan Rogers and Judy Nixon are proud of the level of customer service they deliver and say you can’t get the same personal touch online. Tony Martin

AUSTRALIANS are doing more shopping online, but is it worth logging onto a computer to avoid a log-jam in the shopping centre car park?

Robins Kitchen offers in-store and internet shopping to its customers and while traffic to its online store has increased this hasn't impacted on the number of shoppers coming through the doors.

The Mackay store has had an extremely busy Christmas and manager Jan Rogers said while online shopping was convenient there were some things it just didn't deliver.

"Online has its benefits but it's more personal (in store)," she said. "Here at Robins Kitchen we pride ourselves on our customer service.

"We can explain (to customers) the benefits and features of products. For example, frypans alone have 20 different varieties."

Another benefit of shopping in-store is the ability to take the product home immediately. Online orders typically take at least two days to arrive at your doorstep, so if you need a Christmas gift the best bet is to head to the shops.

What people buy online also differs. The top-selling products on the Robins Kitchen online store are outdoor entertainment products, sandwich guides, giftware and cutlery. The most popular in-store items are cookware and bakeware.

Generally, people like to shop for electrical items online. Data from online shopping comparison website Getprice showed digital cameras, mobile phones and televisions topped the list for most popular search categories in 2011.

A Getprice survey of more than 1800 shoppers also showed two-thirds increased their amount of online shopping this year.

Robins Kitchen brand and marketing manager Steve Craig said the aim of the Rob-ins Kitchen online offering was to give shoppers the choice of whether they wanted to shop on the web or in-store. The prices were the same, Mr Craig said.

He said 20 of the 54 Robins Kitchen stores across Queensland and New South Wales had iPads which allowed shoppers to order items online which weren't available in-store. Conversely, items not available online could be sourced and delivered, he said.

The Mackay store will have an iPad early next year.


Online Top 10

Most popular search terms on online shopping comparison site Getprice in 2011:



 iPod Touch



 Rapid Loss

 Nespresso capsules

 Car battery


 Hot water system


Shopping online

The pros:

 Can do it from the comfort of your home on the computer

 Can be cheaper

 Many online stores offer free delivery

 Broader product availability

 Comparing prices is easier

The cons:

 Takes at least two to three days for products to arrive

 Can't ask anyone about the features or benefits of items when making your selection


Shopping in-store

The pros:

 Can ask staff for help to decide what product to buy

 Can quiz staff on the features or benefits of products

 Can take the item home as soon as you pay for it

 Can have a good look at the item before purchasing it

The cons:

 Some items may not be available in store

 Items may cost more

 May have to battle for a car park or brave shopping centre crowds


Do you prefer online or in-store shopping?


Topics:  christmas online shopping

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