Shopping online vs. shopping in-store

shopping online

While many shoppers still prefer to step out onto the high street, huge numbers now order products online. But which is better for you: shopping online or shopping in-store? Both have their benefits, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, is there really one that outshines the other?

Online shopping has become so simple over the past few years. You can find almost anything online and have it delivered to your door – sometimes even on the same day in just a few clicks!  

However, shopping in-store gives you that interactive experience that is second to none and simply cannot be matched through a computer screen. Not only this, but venturing out to a physical store allows you to see and even try a product before you buy it. This is especially important for high-value products. As convenient as shopping online is, you simply can’t get the same experience that you can in-store.  

Both have their benefits and their pitfalls, but can one ever truly trump the other? Let’s look at the pros and cons of both online shopping and in-store shopping.  

Online shopping

Companies such as Amazon and eBay have revolutionised online shopping, taking the retail world by storm. In fact according to Invesprco, here in the UK we’ve been crowned the ‘world’s best online shoppers’, generating the highest online retail sales percentage of 15.6% (total retail sales). And most major retailers on the high street have online store equivalents, so we’re often spoiled for choice.  

The pros of online shopping  

  • It’s convenient. Don’t feel like leaving the house today? Not a problem. You can do all of your grocery and clothes shopping straight from the comfort of your home. This is the biggest appeal of online shopping to many – the fact that it’s just so convenient. 
  • There’s often more choice. As e-commerce continues to expand, so does the choice of what is available to buy online. You’ve probably come across some ‘online exclusives’ if you’re a keen internet shopper (such as Amazon’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday events). They’re seen as another benefit to the online shopping world, as there’s often more choice than you can expect to find in-store. 
  • It’s flexible. When shopping in-store the pressure is on to make a quick decision. When shopping online on the other hand, you have plenty of time to decide. If you’re unsure about a potential purchase then the option is there to add an item to your basket and save it for later. What’s more, you can usually shop online at any given point in the day (or night), giving you total flexibility of when you want to shop – that means no more worrying about store opening times.   

The cons of online shopping  

  • It’s far too easy. With a world of shopping at your fingertips it can often be hard to resist temptation – especially if you’re trying to save. As much as 48% of online users have bought or spent more than they originally planned when shopping online, according to a USA study executed by BigCommerce. 
  • Returns can be tricky. While the actual process of online shopping is remarkably easy, the returns process isn’t always. Something you don’t get from shopping online compared to in-store is the ability to try before you buy, so the chances of needing to return an item are much higher. This, combined with the fact that returning online-bought items is often a lengthy and sometimes arduous process, is a definite pitfall of online shopping.  

In-store shopping  

The traditional method of heading into a physical shop to browse and buy is incomparable to online shopping, especially given that you can try before you buy. So why is shopping in-store slowly becoming more popular and leading to more and more shoppers to abandon the high street? We look at the pros and cons of high street shopping below.  

The pros of in-store shopping  

  • Try before you buy. As mentioned above, one of the biggest advantages of in-store shopping is that you can get a good feel for an item before you buy it. Whether that ’s testing it out while in the store or even trying it on if it’s an item of clothing, you’re always guaranteed a much more hands-on experience when you venture into a store.  
  • The in-store experience. You can’t beat that feeling of walking into a store to the warm greetings of friendly employees. Not only this, but being in-store means you can spend your time browsing and engaging with what’s on offer. All in all, it’s bound to be a much more pleasant experience.  
  • You can get a second opinion. Even if you’re shopping on your own, you can still ask an employee for their second opinion on an outfit you’re trying on if you’re unsure.  
  • It’s a day out. Many people see a day of shopping as a day out (and a day well spent for that matter). If you head out to an actual shopping centre then you can not only splash out and treat yourself, but you can also grab a bite to eat and spend some time with friends or family. This is an experience you simply can’t match with online shopping.  

The cons of in-store shopping 

  • You have to leave the house. It may sound silly, but if you’re not in the mood to leave the house to grab some essentials then you may be put off the idea altogether, knowing you’ll have to travel to go and get them. While in-store shopping has many, many benefits; online shopping always comes out on top of this dilemma.  
  • Stores may not have your size. There are usually larger amounts of stock for products that are displayed online as opposed to that in-store. This means that on occasion, you could head into a store only to find out that they don’t have your size in stock.  

So, what’s the verdict? Shopping online or shopping in-store? 

Honestly, we believe you can never beat heading to the shops and getting that full in-store experience. Of course, online shopping boasts practicality but it also fails to include all of those personal benefits that shopping in-store has.  

When it comes to shopping, you really can’t compromise on the in-store experience. So, why not pay us a visit at Runcorn Shopping City and find that out for yourself? 

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