Shopping online has become one of my favorite pastimes. For the past five years I have been a client and advocate of Amazon Prime. If you are not familiar with what Amazon Prime is or does, here is a brief breakdown of the benefits Amazon Prime offers.

  • Cost is $79 a year.
  • Free shipping in the US for any ordered product with no price limit. For instance, you can order a product that costs 99 cents and receive free shipping.
  • Second day receipt of your purchase is guaranteed. The exceptions is that, if you order on a Friday, the item may not ship until Monday.
  • Free movies offered for streaming.
  • Free Kindle e-books with a limit of one per month.

So is a Prime membership from Amazon right for you? It all depends on how much you purchase during the year. For me, the benefits are well worth the costs since I order about 80% of all of my online purchases through Amazon Prime. In addition to the savings I have received on shipping costs, I have also received products for free if they have not arrived within two days as guaranteed by Amazon. As with any service, there are some limitations and I would recommend that you read the service guarantee as provided by Amazon on its website.

With that being said, I did not find it surprising that, in a recent study by iProspect, researchers found that affluent men over 18 years of age have flocked to online shopping sites in droves. In its report, iProspect, in the table below, also concluded the following:

  • Affluent males are described as being over 35 years old, making $100k to $300k a year, and having no children.
  • 70% of these men use the Internet (by home computer, smartphone, or tablet) to research and buy products.
  • The top websites visited are Amazon (41%), Yahoo! (37%), Google (29%), and eBay (20%).
  • These men are also social in that they visit Facebook (55%) and Google+ (39%) on a daily basis.

So I asked my fellow Gnomies what their online shopping experience has been, and here are the responses that I received:

Zach Bornheimer

I’m an Amazon man, myself 😉

Michael Epson

Definitely Amazon, and its Prime service is too great to describe, here. I use every part of it that I can. I’m a huge reader, and Kindle is king in our house.

William R. Reynolds Young

Amazon, Zappos, and eBay. More than 70% of my shopping is online.

Ryan Hayes

Amazon for most things that are available with Prime. Sam’s Club for other things. In general I’m patient, so I use stores to check out things, but only buy there if I need something the same day. Even in brick and mortar stores I use my iPhone to get a ballpark estimate to see if I should get it, not get it, or wait for something better. Internet access is key to getting the best deal.

John McKinlay

Amazon UK, homeshoppingdirect.com, Maplin Electronics, eBay, and a lot more besides. I do most of my shopping online; only around 5-10% is done within a bricks and mortar business.

Aryeh Goretsky

NewEgg, Amazon, and eBay. I sometimes go someplace else if Froogle shows it as being less expensive and the site still has decent reviews.

April Elyse Weir

Amazon, Jcp.com, and eBay (audiojelly.com and beatport.com for music). I do like to shop at physical stores, but I don’t have a car, and things in physical stores tends to be more expensive than online. Although there are certain times where buying online is impractical — as with clothes or shoes as it’s hard to get the right size. Online can’t really recreate the feeling of going through racks and discovering stuff, pulling stuff out, and feeling the fabric and seeing how it fits. In physical stores, you know exactly what you are getting, so there is no dissatisfaction later on.

Richard Arblaster

When I had money, mainly play.com, amazon.co.uk, and hmv.com

Craig Chamberlin

Exact same as Aryeh Goretsky: Amazon, Newegg, and eBay. I seldom do brick and mortar unless I need it the same day.

Schyler MagicTrax

Johnson I shop online once in a while. Usually I shop from sweetwater.com, fatbeats.com, ughh.com, and occasionally Amazon. I try to buy at brick and mortar stores when it’s possible, but quite a lot of stuff isn’t available around here.

Bryan Miner

I love shopping amazon.com; the only thing I am not comfortable shopping online for is clothes, but anything else — if I don’t need it right now — I go to Amazon for it.

Troy Rutter

Amazon.com is the obvious one, but I actually did buy some jeans on ae.com, since I hate shopping for clothes. The fit was a bit of a gamble, but ended up okay. I’d say 85-90% of my online shopping is Amazon; the rest is eBay and miscellaneous.

Mark Dalton

Amazon.com, eBay, and that’s it, really.

Kyle Kimberlin

Amazon for me. I figure if I can’t get it from Amazon, or within five minutes of my home, I probably don’t need it.

Nate W. Thibodeau

Amazon and Newegg. Occasionally MicroCenter.

What is surprising in the answers is that the majority of Gnomies use Amazon as one of their favorite online retailers.

In a recent article at Forbes, the focus was on why Best Buy would gradually collapse. One argument that brick and mortar stores use for what they perceive as unfair competition is that online stores normally do not charge sales tax, which makes the online product more attractive because it is cheaper.

What the brick and mortar stores do not understand is that is not the only reason. For any of us who have made purchases from online companies such as Amazon, we recognize that these online companies excel in their customer service. Returning items is a breeze and getting a refund is as easy. I once received an item that I did not order and Amazon told me to keep it. I have also returned items that did not meet my needs without an issue. Amazon does bend over backwards to make your shopping experience the best it can be. The company wants our business and is willing to provide the absolute best customer service available.

When it comes to us men, we prefer letting our fingers do the walking and searching. I know that I rarely go shopping at retail stores — particularly malls — and prefer the convenience of shopping online.

How do you do your shopping, and which do you prefer: online or at a physical retailer?

Comments welcome.

CC licensed Flickr photo at the top of the page shared by joshparent