The Main Pros and Cons of Online Shopping
Online shopping has become the shopping norm for many busy consumers these days. Purchasing goods from the comfort of one’s home without commuting to the store and queuing is an excellent way to save time. There are several other major advantages to purchasing products online, as well as some drawbacks. Here is a list of the main pros and cons of online shopping you might want to weigh.
The Main Pros of Online Shopping
By far, one of the biggest advantages of buying products online is convenience. Back in the old days, there was no internet and no other options than shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. So, people often left shopping for the end of the week when they had more time. Now, this is no longer necessary.
Online stores make it possible for you to purchase items 24//7, from the comfort of your home, without wasting time or money on fuel to go to a physical location. Shopping online is easy once you create an account on an eCommerce platform. All you have to do is log in, look for the products you need, add them to your cart, and pay. You can complete a purchase in two minutes if you know what you want to buy.
More Informed Purchase Decisions
In the past, buyers relied on the recommendations they got from salespeople, friends, or relatives. Now, this is no longer the case. Any customer can leave a review online after making a purchase. Any potential buyer can read that review to get a more comprehensive view of a product’s features and benefits.
Now, you can rely on other customers’ opinions to decide if you want to invest in a brand. These can help you ponder a product more carefully and set realistic expectations before buying it. Plus, there are also expert reviews and product comparison websites where you can check out which products are more in-demand in a certain niche.
Also, to learn more about a product, you can usually find detailed descriptions and even technical sheets online, whereas, in physical stores, you usually need to ask the salesperson for these details. All this information helps you compare the best products and make an informed purchase decision.
Another undeniable advantage of online shopping is product diversity. No physical store provides as many products as you find on online platforms such as Amazon. The range is incredibly wide, with thousands of products and sellers to choose from. Besides the mind-soothing benefit of knowing that your choices are not limited, a large range of products also makes it easier to find something within your budget range.
Bargains and Customer Loyalty Programs
Since there are so many online retailers, more precisely, 2.1 million in the U.S. alone, there are also many offers and discounts. Sellers are constantly looking for ways to attract and retain customers, and special offers, coupons, discount codes, or giveaways are among them.
You can surely find discounts in brick-and-mortar stores too, but if you don’t go there regularly, you might miss them. Instead, when you shop online, it’s easier to come across different offers, especially if you follow your favorite brands on social media or you receive their newsletter.
Besides discount prices, loyalty programs are a common customer retention strategy. If you become a regular, stores can offer you regular discounts, birthday gifts, or other perks.
No Transportation Concerns
Who likes the hassle of carrying heavy bags or struggling to find a parking place? Plus, driving at a physical store takes time and means more money spent on gas. By shopping online, you eliminate all this inconvenience. You just choose the items, pay, and wait for the products to be delivered to your doorstep.
The Main Cons of Online Shopping
One of the main downsides of online shopping is cyber threats. These can take different forms, such as online fraud, phishing, or identity theft. According to statistics, the number of digital fraud attempts increased by more than 25% in the U.S. in the first four months of 2021.
Cyber fraud concerns many consumers when shopping online. Creating accounts on various eCommerce websites automatically means sharing some personal details such as names, addresses, and more importantly, payment details.
Not few were the cases when people realized money was missing from their bank account as a result of unauthorized transactions. These can be the consequence of registering bank accounts on unsafe e-stores that fail to secure their customers’ data.
It Can Cost More
Online shopping offers myriad product and brand choices, and many of these come with discounts or promotions. Nonetheless, online shopping is not necessarily cheaper than in-store shopping. Although online retailers have fewer costs compared to those operating in physical locations (no rent, no salespeople), the cost of online purchases also includes shipping fees, which are incurred by customers. Moreover, there is usually a minimum order amount you have to place if you want to be able to buy from most e-stores.
You Can’t Test the Products
If you’re the type of person who likes to try on a pair of jeans before buying them, online shopping might not be the right type of shopping for you, especially when buying clothes. Some consumers still prefer to walk in a physical shop and see, test, or feel the product before they buy it.
Online shops have this disadvantage compared to brick-and-mortar ones; you can’t test the products. However, this is also the reason why many allow you to easily return the merchandise and get a refund if you don’t like it. Moreover, some products come with a free trial; you can test them at home for a limited number of days and return them if you’re not satisfied.
All in all, there are many pros, but also some downsides to online shopping. While this type of shopping is certainly convenient and offers a wide array of choices, some people might still prefer to do their shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.