Is It Really Worth It To Buy Things Online?

By Sophia Gonzalez and Lindsey Jeschelnig

Whether you are shopping in-store or online, the experiences are very different. Depending on how the service is, what varieties are offered, and what the vibe of the store is, shopping in-store can be much more desirable than shopping online. However, some websites can be even better than their stores, offering more types of clothing and colors and with more of a desirable look. Some store websites are different than others. We have taken the time to view the websites of six stores in two different locations, and report on their performance. The first three stores are from Eton Plaza, and the last three are from Beachwood Mall.

Free people is a store with a bohemian twist to it, located at Eton Plaza. The front page of the website shows many different styles, are easily seen and accessible at the top. The colors of the page compliment each other very well. When an item is clicked on, good suggestions/other items that correspond to the item selected are shown farther down the page. The zoom feature of the items is very detailed, and shows even the texture of the item on the screen. When scrolling down multiple items, a quick-shop option is available for shoppers who are just looking to browse quickly. In contrast, clicking the buttons is slightly delayed, and pages are slow to load (although this may be in part to the wifi). The fonts of the pages could be slightly bigger, as there is room to do so.

Lululemon is also located at Eton Plaza but it is very different than Free People, both in-store and on their websites. Lululemon is more of an athletic store with clothing and items that are in very high demand. The website is very well-organized, clean, and aesthetically pleasing. On the front page, there is a cool video feature that shows their newest item/items. Scrolling up and down is effortless, and there is much variation between items and their colors. As with Free People, there are suggestions below items that are viewed, and there are also suggestion that correspond to the items being bought at the checkout. The website is slow changing from one color to another when viewing items, but again, it may just be the wifi.

The final location at Eton Plaza is Blue Mercury. It is different from Lululemon and Free People in its items, as it is a cosmetics store. It offers multiple items from several brands to allow for easy searching. Regarding the front page, the color theme is nice and goes along with the theme of the rest of the website. There are no delays concerning scrolling, and there are quick-shop options for items, similar to the Free People website. The home page may be a little too congested for a home page, with many unnecessary pieces of information. The clicking of the tabs is slightly delayed as in Free People, but this seems to not be in part of the wifi, but because that was how the website was created to be.  

Lush is a cosmetics and body care store located at Beachwood Mall. The starting page of Lush’s website is very nice, and shows a video of their latest events. When transported to the home page, it is easy to see what time of year it is, as the website offers different season items according to the holidays coming up. The items are shown in very vivid images, where the all the colors pop out. Some item images are even animated to show the items in a more realistic perspective. All of the items also have short and sweet descriptions, explaining the items in only two or three words. You can go even more in depth with the items when they are clicked on, and can see videos of how to use the items, what are the ingredients, how they are made, and more. It is almost too find exactly what you are looking for on the website. When you add something to your bag, some type of decoration (for example, bats) may come out and surprise you, congratulating you on finding an item you enjoy. The different tabs on the first page of the Lush website portray the many health benefits that Lush has for its buyers and the rest of the planet, and also show the charities and organizations that Lush supports.

Pacsun is not a body store like Lush, but a clothing store at the same Beachwood Mall. The colors of the front page corresponding to what’s trending during the seasons (for example, trending denim will make the page bluer). It is also very condensed, but in an orderly manner so as not to scare away you away. It is very easy and quick to switch from one tab to another, and when an item is clicked, many different picture perspectives are offered to allow you to make the best possible choices. Similar to many of the other websites, there is a quick-shop option. The side bars of the item pages that allow for easier searching are a slightly too big, and would allow more room for bigger pictures and fonts if they were to be smaller.

Lastly, Forever 21 (like the other locations) is a well known clothing store, also located in Beachwood Mall. It is fairly easy to scroll on the pages, and just a tap of a button can quickly transport you to another page in seconds. However, the front page is much too condensed and unorganized. There are too many different colors, which clash with each other at times. Too many looks and options are shown on the front page, giving the impression that it is hectic and crazy. The zoom effect on the individual item pages is slightly blurry and unfocused, and does not allow you to move your mouse over the image and look at the different pieces of the item. When checking out, the items are organized horizontally unlike the traditional vertical organization method. This makes the items seem more squished together.

Every website has its’ own look, organization method, and style. Factors may vary depending on the types of items the website sells, the amount of items it sells, or the types of buyers it is trying to attract. Websites can be easier or harder to use, with some buyers having different opinions than others. Whether buying items in-house or online, the preferences are are up to the buyers and the kind of service they want and are looking for.