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The July 4 story “Japan's fussy food shoppers finally go online amid pandemic” was an interesting story for me.

Online shopping offers many people safety and convenience. During this pandemic, more people would like to stay home to avoid the “three Cs”: closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings. Indeed, the delivery service helps consumers reduce infections of the coronavirus. Also, demand for e-commerce is rapidly spreading since working people can save shopping time outside. Instead, they can relax more. The retailers prepare the items attentively to satisfy the consumers’ exacting standards for quality service and produce.

During this shift, however, some sill enjoy shopping at supermarkets, talking to the salespersons while keeping physical distance. Others enjoy purchasing goods freely in person. So, retail stores won’t disappear soon, as shown in the article. I am one such shopper, because items I have ordered online turned out to be much different from those on the website, for example in color or design. It took time and a return fee to have the service center refund my purchase. Since then, I have doubted the reliability of online items.

The “digital divide” remains unsolved for now. Increasingly, users are enjoying online shopping but some elderly people and impaired people, who are eager to use this sophisticated system, cannot. They are unaccustomed to operating digital devices and using them to choose and buy items they want. Retailers should make every effort to resolve this disparity, such as providing free lessons for PC or smartphone beginners, or simplifying procedures to access their online site. That will ultimately lead to gaining more customer trust and promoting their sales.

Anyway, both quality items and services are needed for all buyers, so sellers that meet their requirements will be more reliable and profitable.

Mieko Okabe
Yokohama

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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