Touch and feel gives the actual value and kind of trust on what you are buying. Online photos or videos can be deceptive. I strongly support for touch and feel. Also touch and feel will help a consumer make a decision whether to buy it first of all rather than buying and returning it online.
Many small average purchases can be made from an online store without being any different than seeing them in the store. However, major purchases like vehicles, furniture, and major appliances need to be seen an tested to make sure it fit's the individual customers needs. I wouldn't buy a car without checking under the hood!
As an avid online user/shopper I would argue that there is a need for consumers to touch and feel a product. Obviously there are those goods that do not require that attention. But there are still goods out there that require and in-depth look in person. You cannot try on clothing, you cannot test drive a car, you cannot taste your favorite recipe and you can't hear what that motorcycle sounds like online. So yes, while much of the research can be done online, sometimes the final decision can be made only after touching and feeling it.
While brick-and-mortar stores are on the wane, due to the prevalence of online shopping, physical locations for stores do have an appeal to many consumers, and are very important for a variety of industries. Clothing, for example, is one commodity that will likely never be an online-only purchase. While the vast majority of goods can be purchased online, physical store locations will likely always remain for some.
The Internet has allowed users to find and source items for cheaper than they'd normally expect to pay in a physical store. This ease of use has translated very well for many items. A large portion of consumer goods don't really need to be tested or felt in person. But, there are still a lot of items that no picture or video can fully show. Jewellery, for instance, still needs a touch and feel to get the most out of the purchasing decision.
There are certain parts of the shopping experience that just do not translate into cyberspace. Touching and feeling a product is an essential part of shopping. If somebody is going to by a tablet computer, they will want to know how it feels in their hands. If they are buying clothing, they are going to want to know how the fabric feels against their skin.
Consumers need to touch and feel products to determine what they like and what they want to buy. This is especially true if the products are new, or new to them. Humans are tactile people and touch is an important sense for well-being. Something can be ordered over the Internet, but people still need to touch.
It is important for many things to be available at a brick and mortar store, so that people can be able to touch and feel the quality of the product. There are things that can not be presented properly online. In addition to that, some people really need to try clothing and shoes on, as well.
Most consumers want to buy a product and know what they are getting. When we are buying clothes, we would like to see that it fits correctly before purchasing it. After all, not all manufacturers have the same cutting size. It also saves the consumer the hassle of returning the product, and the retailer the hassle of re-stocking the item.
There will always be a need for brick and mortar stores because consumers like to know what they are actually buying. A chair may look great in an ad, but touching it gives the buyer a true sense of its durability. Knowing the physical dimensions of a product hardly compares to being able to look at the product's intrinsic issues to know it it will truly fit into a desired position.
In about 90% of cases, it would not be necessary for a person to touch and feel products in a physical store prior to making a purchase decision. Many products consumers buy nowadays do not require that kind of interaction. Books, DVDs, music, hardware, toys and furniture can all be communicated through photos and text. In the other 10% of cases it might be important; these products would include clothing and fresh foods like produce.
What physical stores can do is provide personalized assistance from staff regarding products about which consumers have questions, allow serendipitous encounters with products of interest to a buyer that she was not specifically seeking but encountered in the course of browsing or looking for something else, and provide community; but touching products, per se, is not needed in the presence of a well-designed Web site with good pictures and descriptions. If a physical store lets you try out a product, that is another matter, and a bona fide benefit not available through online purchasing. Even here, though, equivalent arrangements could be made. (An ambitious online vendor might decide to allow trial use of a product to loyal consumers or to those willing to pay a fee for the option, for instance, which would further equalize the experience of on- and offline shopping.)
The amount of shopping done online has been steadily increasing ever since online purchases became possible in the mid-90s. While in some cases people wish to touch the product they purchase, now generous return policies and review sites make it possible to get a good idea of what you are buying without worrying about whether it is acceptable. Since prices are often lower online and usually there is no tax, this increases people's motivation to buy online. Often people who do want to see a product in person will examine it in a physical store, but then go make the actual purchase at an internet store.