The form of shopping in which people can easily purchase goods and services by using the internet is called online shopping. In recent years, there has been a growing trend in online shopping. Everything in this world is connected with both positive and negative aspects. The same is with online shopping too. On the one hand, it benefits, and on the other hand, it has disadvantages too.
Advantages of Online Shopping
Because of the numerous advantages and benefits, more and more people these days prefer buying things online over the conventional method of going into stores.
What are some reasons many people love online shopping, and why is it so popular? Below are some reasons for shopping online.
Convenience is the biggest perk. Where else can you comfortably shop at midnight while in your pajamas? There are no lines to wait in or cashiers to track down to help you with your purchases, and you can do your shopping in minutes.
Online shops give us the opportunity to shop 24/7, and also reward us with a ‘no pollution’ shopping experience.
- Better Prices
Cheap deals and better prices are available online, because products come to you direct from the manufacturer or seller without involving middlemen. Plus, it’s easier to compare prices and find a better deal. Many online sites offer discount coupons and rebates, as well.
Saves expenses of gas and parking, and you have saved yourself a lot of money!
- More Variety
The choices online are amazing. You can find almost any brand or item you’re looking for. You can get in on the latest international trends without spending money on airfare. You can shop from retailers in other parts of the state, country, or even world instead of being limited to your own geography. Some online shops even accept orders for out-of-stock items and ship when they come in.
- You Can Send Gifts More Easily
Sending gifts to relatives and friends is easy, no matter where they are. All the packaging and shipping is done for you. Oftentimes, they’ll even gift wrap it for you! Now, there is no need to make distance an excuse for not sending a gift on occasions like birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and so on.
- More Control
Many times, we tend to spend a lot more than planned and end up buying items that aren’t exactly what we wanted. Online, you don’t have to let the store’s inventory dictate what you buy, and you can get exactly what you want and need.
- Easy Price Comparisons
Comparing and researching products and their prices is so much easier online. If you’re shopping for appliances, for example, you can find consumer reviews and product comparisons for all the options on the market, with links to the best prices. We can research firsthand experience, ratings, and reviews for most products and retailers.
- No Crowds
Most people hate crowds when they’re shopping. Especially during holidays, festivals, or on weekends, they can be such a huge headache. Also, being crushed in the crowds of shoppers sometimes makes us feel rushed or hurried. You don’t have to battle for a parking place. All of these problems can be avoided when you shop online.
Additional Benefits of Shopping Online
- You get an electronic record of the receipt of your purchase, which makes record-keeping much easier.
- You get to try things on in the comfort of your own home.
- Sometimes, returns are easy.
- It saves time!
Disadvantages of Online Shopping
Online shopping brings to the consumers some disadvantages. Initially, since people are unable to touch or to see the products they want to buy in reality, it is always hard for them to examine the quality of these products. As a result, they might purchase items of poor quality.
- Negative Environmental Impact of Packaging and Gas
Having your purchase packed in several layers of plastic and cardboard packaging and delivered right to your front door is good for you but not so great for the environment. Even if you try to recycle cardboard, you’re creating unnecessary waste by shopping online.
- Shipping Problems and Delays
Even the biggest and best shipping companies and online retailers have their bad days, so there’s no way to ensure that you’ll get your hands on your purchase in time unless you pick it up from a store. Items get lost, detoured, damaged, or delivered to the wrong address more often than you can imagine.
- Risk of Fraud
If you’re shopping online, there’s a larger risk of fraud: credit card scams, phishing, hacking, identity theft, counterfeit products, bogus websites, and other scams are common.
- Spending Too Much Time Online
Especially if your job requires that you look at a computer all day, you might get burnt out in all that screen time. Shopping online can turn into a marathon of scrolling and clicking down rabbit holes, and before you know it, you’ve been online for most of the day. The internet is a nice place to visit, but you probably don’t want to live there.
- Less Contact with the Community
If you do all your business online, you’ll never have to leave your home. This might be great for a while, but sometimes, you might want to go outside, breathe some fresh air, get a change of scenery, talk to real people, participate in your community, and just be a part of the crowd. Sometimes, a computer monitor can’t compete with a real human connection.
- You Don’t Know Exactly What You’re Getting
Unless you are intimately familiar with a brand or product, buying online requires a leap of faith . . . one that doesn’t always end in your favor. Sizes are often imprecise. You can’t determine texture, fabric, fit, cut, quality, just by looking at a photo. Products that looked great might feel awkward, or cheap when you hold them in your hands.
- Returns Can Be Complicated
Some sellers make the process breezy, but many make it extra hard for you to return to get a refund. Many times, you can’t get reimbursed for any shipping costs.
- No Sales Assistance
In a store, there’s usually someone to help you but online, you’re on your own. If you’re confused or have questions, it’s just too bad for you. You might have to make blind purchases and mistakes you’ll regret later because there was no one to talk to.
Best and Worst Things to Buy Online
|Things You Should Buy Online||Things You Should Buy in a Store|
|Electronics (new or refurbished)||Anything you can haggle for to get a better price|
|Medicine (cheaper and easier, especially when you’re sick)||Medicine (watch out for online scams and expired or fake meds)|
|Clothing (if you know exactly what color, style, and size you want)||Clothing (when you want to touch, try on, and inspect)|
|Baby supplies (diapers, formula, food)||Anything that should be experienced first (mattresses, furniture, blankets, etc.)|
|Pet food (cheaper and easier, especially in bulk)||Really heavy items (with pricey shipping costs)|
|Books (if you know exactly what you want)||Books (if you want to browse, talk to the bookseller, and support your local bookstore so they don’t go out of business)|
|A used car (cheaper and easier without a dealer, unless you need financing)||Anything you might need to return|
|Groceries (if you don’t have time)||Groceries (if you like to choose what you eat and support your local growers and grocers)|
|Art (sites like Etsy list original, beautiful art direct from the artist)||A pet (of course!)|
|Prescription or reading glasses (always cheaper and cuter online)||Real estate (of course!)|
|Holiday Gifts (the gift wrapping, shipping, and convenience can’t be beat)||Any product you haven’t tried before (perfume, food items, cosmetics, etc.)|
Things to see When Shopping Online
When you are buying from online stores, make sure that you do the following:
- How long have they been in business? Do they have negative or positive reviews from customers?
- If you’re unhappy with your purchase, do they have a refund policy?