Have you ever wondered why people still throng shopping malls, spending hours to choose a product, wait in queue to pay the bill and then carry home the heavy load when they could have avoided all the hassles by indulging in online shopping?
Well, I seem to know the answer. To be precise, the very act of traditional shopping provides some kind of emotional satisfaction and pleasure that you can hardly get when shopping online. Fancy the festive environment that retail stores wear during Christmas when you lose yourself selecting gifts for your near and dear ones! But this does not mean that online shopping does not have its quota of benefits, probably more than what traditional shopping offers to you. Yet there are few issues that prove quite relevant for online shopping which are outlined below for you to consider for yourself which way you intend to shop.
Pros of online shopping
1. Online Shopping saves time and trouble – More so, if you live far away from a shopping mall, which almost resembles an Arctic exploration. The rain and the sleet, slippery road condition and the intense cold during a late December afternoon will invariably go against you. Apart from the time it takes to reach the mall, park your vehicle at a convenient place, getting in and coming out are enough to dampen your shopping spree. You may somehow be able to brave the discomfiture when buying a whole lot of stuff for the family, but if you are looking for a single object, it will sound ridiculous to you. You would obviously opt for online shopping from the warmth of your own living room.
2. Online Shopping will save gas, especially these days when gas costs so much more. In fact, a significant portion of a family’s budget goes towards procuring this essential item. And it indeed hurts when you consume a portion of it on your shopping expedition. However, shopping online seldom flusters your fuel gauge, no matter how big or small your car happens to be. So, you would surely opt for online shopping if you intend to save money on gas.
3. Online shopping lets you buy at the right price instantly. All you need to do is to include the term in the search box, along with the product or service you are looking for. In traditional shopping, this involves many checks, plus help from shop assistants who may be busy otherwise.
4. Online shopping lets you buy 24×7 – Since the whole job is done through the web that remains active 24×7, you can shop any time of the day or night. In fact, you can buy a pair of sunglasses at the dead of night, if you so desire. And that too, in an absolutely hassle free environment.
5. Online shopping provides unlimited options – As online stores maintain unlimited inventory (virtual) of products and services (without physically stocking such items), you can have any size or style in respect of products or services you intend to purchase. True, you may have to search a little more, but the phenomenal variety and styles could puzzle a princess.
6. Online shopping lets you shop sans interference – “Hi, everything on these racks enjoys 70% cut; those over there are slightly soiled but can be had dime a dozen”. These apparently helpful comments sometimes sound irritating because these are basically a solicitous type of lip service that often turns sour when not needed. Online shopping, on the other hand, is totally free of such silly sales talk.
7. Online shopping offers free customer reviews and testimonials that prove so helpful when buying personal items. Since most non-technical people are seldom aware of latest technical advancements in regard to wearing apparel, especially those that prove comfortable and healthy to wear during summer days, these reviews are almost God sent.
Cons of online shopping
- Online shipping costs could be killing – True; shipping or dispatching of goods have become a breeze these days but the costs for this essential service isn’t. In fact, you may sometime find the cost for shipping an item higher than its price tag. No wonder people often drive down a mall to pick consumer items and bring them home personally after paying the price at the billing counter. But of course, this does not become practicable when one is located remotely.
- Online shopping involves waiting time – As against traditional shopping where you can collect your merchandise and bring it home immediately after making the payment, online shopping entails certain time gap before having your purchased items in your home. This happens because the delivery process involves the appointment of courier services that vary from state to state and area to area. Sometimes when fragile items are shipped through courier, the question of insurance also arises, which again takes a little more time.
- Online shopping involves readymade garments only – moreover, the World Wide Web doesn’t provide any trial room to check whether a suit fits well for a body that is too lean or highly obese for it. Not only that, the process forbids you to physically touch the fabric and get the ‘feel’, which is so very important in selecting a garment. Needless to say, this is one of the biggest disadvantages that involve online shopping of apparels. Add to it the problem of price determination vis-à-vis the quality of the material which you can neither touch nor see with naked eyes.
- Wrongly delivered item purchased through online shopping can cause ugly situation for the buyer.
If the item you received is not the item listed as purchased, the seller is responsible for either correcting the error (at no extra charge) or refunding your money, but online retailers may have different approaches. There may be information about resolving this type of dispute in the “disclaimers” or “legal terms” portion of the customer contract or you can usually call or email the company for details.
Also, when you buy something online from an individual vendor, perhaps through Craigslist or a similar service, it could prove very difficult to resolve such an issue if the seller is acting in bad faith or otherwise not responsive.
5. Online shopping hassle of sending it back – While some online stores will provide you with a ‘Return Label’ to ship the product back if it was not ordered by you, others remain reluctant on this issue. But in any case, you need to prove that the fault lies in the retailer’s court when the money can be returned to you.
Despite all the hazards that often accompany online shopping, the day is soon coming when most shopping will be done online as people will be so much engaged in their struggle for survival that they would never be able to enjoy the luxury of traditional shopping with friends and relations.