Originally published in On Line Opinion on May 27, 2011

What is the true value of the service we get when buying something at a shop? It can be quite high when the shopping experience adds to the pleasure of the purchase, such as getting you out of the house, friendly sales staff and nice food next door. The value added can be particularly high when it informs our choice before making a purchase, such as trying on a pair of shoes. Some people will always want this kind of interaction. But for many, the option of shopping online is becoming more appealing due to lower prices and convenience. Even reluctant consumers are starting to be lured away from traditional retailers, particularly when they see so many products up to half or more of the price online.

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