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Saving Money On Traditionally “Offline” Products Now Popular Online.

Online shopping can be done for almost any market today and at a much cheaper price, due to the drastic decrease in overhead costs online retailers can generate. This commercial medium has paved the way for many new and innovative business opportunities, creating a healthy level of competition between businesses, and reaching a wider and more global audience. However, many traditional “brick-and-mortar” segments still only have a modest presence on the web, due to certain constraints and regulations they face. However, here are three traditionally offline markets that have made the transition to online success.

Prescription Drugs

Pharmacies have existed online since the turn of the millennium but only just recently started growing as an industry. Online pharmacies, like Drugstore.com are becoming popular alternatives, in both price and convenience, to community pharmacies. And while a majority of online pharmacies still uphold the prescription requirement the Internet has enabled yet another market to grow strong. (Also, see my post on how to save money on prescriptions)

To bypass the pre-written prescription requirement enforced by most national pharmacies Americans have for years traveled to Canada and Mexico. But now there are several online pharmacies that sell medication without requiring any pre-written prescriptions.

These drugstores have internal physicians to determine consumer eligibility to buy prescription free drugs and have become a convenient, if somewhat dubious, alternative for millions of Americans than cannot afford to get a prescription from a doctor. The drugs sold by these pharmacies are produced outside the U.S, in Europe, Canada, Mexico or India, thus not approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).

Contact Lenses

Matters to do with vision impairments have long been restricted to the offline optometric market. And while parts like eye examinations will always belong to real-life local eye doctors, purchasing corrective eyewear online has become a money saver for many.

Local opticians normally sell contact lenses and glasses to their patients. With regard to contact lenses, opticians buy them directly from the manufacturer, then re-brand the products (putting their own stamp on it) and increase the price significantly to make a profit.

Online contact lens stores and price comparison guides offer the same contact lenses as local opticians, but in original packaging and at a much cheaper price. This is possible not because online contact lens shops and guides settle for less profit, but because they simply have less overhead expenses than the average “offline” business.

Still requiring a pre-written prescription from a licensed eye doctor, online contact lens guides will offer the cheapest prices on the market and direct product shipping to the consumer’s doorstep.

Beauty Products

Make-up products and fashion items are the third example where the online market exceeds traditional stores in affordable prices. Well-established amongst younger consumers, sites like Beauty.com not only offer a wide range of cheap beauty products from all the top brands, but have also become a warehouse brand for beauty products. Whatever is missing in any local make-up store, barbershop, fitness club or fragrance section can be found online, to cheaper prices and free shipping.

Where do you shop online that saves you money over traditional brick and mortar shopping?


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Comments (5)

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  1. Sam says:

    I bought my glasses online. Theres a guy that has a blog all about buying glasses online (I can’t find it right now otherwise I’d post a link).

    I took the plung 5 months ago, chose a website based upon reviews & found some frames. The prescription is accurate and the frames are sturdy for $12. I did have to get the nose pad adjusted but that’s nothing. The vendor/eye glasses website kept me informed of my order via email and were nice when i asked questions.

    I’m planning on buying a couple more pairs for spares & different “looks” since it’s so much cheaper. I’ll probably try a different vendor the 2nd time just for variety.
    The vendor I chose was http://www.goggles4u.com – there are others though. If I find that blog name I’ll come back & post it 🙂

  2. Craig says:

    Never even thought of buying drugs online like this. I don’t need prescription meds, but just generic over the counter stuff to have around just in case. I will be looking into it.

  3. bucksome says:

    I buy pet medications online (both prescription and non-prescription) as they are usually much less expensive than the vet. I typically use http://www.petcarerx.com while a coworker uses http://www.petmeds.com.

    Another online purchase is new books. I don’t have to pay sales tax if I buy at Amazon.com which is an additional savings to their normal discounted price.

  4. Would “just about everything” be a good enough answer?? The only things I will buy in a traditional B & M store are things that I know that I can’t buy online. For everything else, I can almost always find it online for cheaper!

    Most sites have gotten smarter and now offer free shipping on just about everything.

    It seems I can always find it cheaper now–you just have to know where to look…

  5. shubh says:

    The internet allows consumers to become more price conscious than ever before, in that they can access price comparison websites.Increased consumer access to high speed broadband Internet services, provides both an opportunity and problem for Internet retailers. This channel is likely to continue to increase in importance, but the decreased product lifecycle on the Internet means the key to survival means getting the product and price mix absolutely right.

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