“Where do I buy it from?”
“Will it be within my budget?”
“Is the source reliable?”
Questions like these always pop up in your head before purchasing bike accessories. Some people have a personal relationship with their bikes, while some consider it to be only a mode of transportation. Both these types of people mentioned always try to find the best quality possible of the accessory which fits their budget as well. However, the most important question is whether you should purchase the accessories online or at a bike store.
Keeping both options in the picture, here are a few pros and cons of buying accessories online vs offline:
While buying from a bike shop, you can always test or try out the accessories out before actually buying them. This option is not available to you if you’re planning to buy the accessories or parts online. However, the products available online are relatively cheaper and have better discounts and offers available as there are no middlemen involved. Bike stores, however, have a chain or a process through which the goods are sold. The goods are sold to wholesalers, who in turn sell it to agents, who finally sell it the retailers, from whom you finally buy the goods.
It is always a good idea to support your local bike stores and purchase goods from them as it helps them economically, and you also get a few extra perks of the personal relationship which you have with the retailer. This relationship adds a personal touch, and post-sale services are easily accessible. Thus, maintaining this personal touch with the retailer develops a relationship of trust, and you can rest assured that the parts are authentic and from a reliable source. This is not the case when it comes to buying online where you have to take a leap of faith. Most of the time, the goods you receive are authentic and exactly as advertised but sometimes, you just simply don’t like it. This might be because it does not serve its purpose, or you merely change your mind. You can always opt for a return of the product which might be a time-consuming process depending on the vendor or website you purchase from. On the other hand, you can instantly replace the good(s) if you have bought it from a bike shop and if you have the proper receipt. However, while returning products offline depends on your relationship with the retailer, a website’s policy has a return agreement as a part of its code of conduct.
Most bikers rightly advise buying the specific parts or accessories online after you have a proof of the legitimacy of the website you are buying from. By doing this, you can avail many discounts and also can tap in to an even wider range of the same product you are looking for, or even many new options you might not have been aware of.
Caveat Emptor, “Let the buyer be aware”, implies that as a buyer, you should always be aware of the goods you are buying irrespective of where it is being bought from, whether it is at a local bike shop or an online portal. So think before you click. Happy shopping!