The advance of technology has brought significant changes in every aspect of human life. Currently throughout the world of e-commerce, it’s continuously causing disruptions among retailers and shoppers. As such many businesses have embraced strong online presence and through the internet, customers can nowadays buy their favorite products through a few clicks of a button. The choice to shop online has an array of benefits because it brings convenience and flexibility to the customer. Moreover, retailers can process much of the orders through technology hence reduced human labor. Besides, it is argued that online retailers offer discounts and deals that many customers find hard to resist for shopping digitally. However, the experience to physically touch your products and make better choices is exceptional. Many people still consider the option of physically visiting the malls and keeping up with shopping benefits derived from it. In-store shopping offers more advantages to customers such as allowing personal interactions, no waiting for products, and a little less hassles while shopping, unlike online shopping which fails to guarantee such enormous advantages.
Firstly in-store shopping creates personal interactions that are non-existent with online shopping. The shopper has the ability to develop a personal experience while interacting and choosing products. The ability to incorporate other “senses such as the touch, smell, and sight” is highly essential in making the final decision before purchasing the product (Indian Gaming 26). For example, a cosmetic store will have a section whereby customers are able to try out new products besides buying tiny samples for experiments before making the decision to purchase the whole package. Similar to clothing stores who are creating more of an artistic adventure to their customers by appealing their displays through mannequins and other styles of presentations. Here customers are capable of trying on the clothes as well as seeking a second opinion from other customers before arriving at the final decision to purchase. Such experiences may not be fully available through online shopping.
Besides customers being able to save money through in-store shopping. The option to look through and experience other products will certainly make customers instantly recognize the quality of a product. A product could look good on a screen through improved graphics and other technologies, yet the actual product when seen may not be the same. Customers can make sound decisions to save money while exploring many alternatives. Besides there being retailed which exclusively offers in-store discounts for their customers (Thain and Bradley 2). As a result, a customer can fulfill this advantage by physically going to the store. The other benefit derived from in-store shopping is the presence of salespeople who have extensive knowledge of particular products. A customer can use his or her extensive knowledge to provide an exact opinion and listen to counter-arguments. The end results are highly beneficial because a customer will certainly walk out with a diversified mentality as opposed to the rigid thought he or she might have initially had.
Another advantage coming from in-store shopping is the lack of shipping issues. Once you buy a product, it becomes yours and a customer is advantaged because he or she shall avoid the pesky shipping charges that come from online shopping. Many of the online retail programs offer free shipping to customers even though there is a catch when a customer finds fault with the product and has to ship it back at their own expense (Persad NP). An in-store shopper has the chance to visit the mall for a second time and make better choices while returning their product, an option which is not available for online shoppers. The other disadvantage that incorporates due to shipping is the risk of losing the product before having the chance to see. Much worse the items might get lost in the process of shipping them back to the retail store. A customer may anticipate for a good product however upon getting hold of the product he or she can be discouraged because it may not be of the same quality as displayed on the screen. This furthermore multiplies the advantage of in-store shopping which enables the customer to smell, feel, and touch the product before purchasing it. Additionally, there are cases where shipping can be more expensive than the product itself making customers pay higher in shipping charges. Such situations may not be sustainable neither are they objective on the part of the customer.
In-store shopping makes a customer own the product immediately after making payment. However, in online shopping, a customer has to wait for their products which may be a lengthy period of time if logistics and distance are to be factored in. The option of not having to wait brings instant satisfaction which is desirable to many customers. Generally, it is easier to order items like books or an electronic with specific features however purchasing items like personalized gifts or home decors can be a tall order for online shoppers (Skyler NP). There are items that may need modifications, therefore, in-store customers can use the knowledge of the vendors to modify it as one's specifications before taking it home. On the contrary online shoppers usually wait for their product before modifying it or maybe even worse and they might be forced to ship it back to the store for it to be adjusted. In-store shopping comes with no delays or emergency situations which may have a negative impact on online customers.
Recent developments have seen a surge in online frauds which is considered to be spiteful in the online world. Online shoppers are under risk of online fraud which may make them lose critical data such as credit and debit card numbers. They might also lose significant amounts of money in situations where products are quite expensive online than in-store. A customer may risk not getting the product because he or she could have keyed in the wrong address or an incorrect phone number. This will definitely make them not receive the order as expected. Additionally, online shopping can be addictive and render an individual to spend so much time online at the expense of doing other meaningful activities (Palaci, Sedra & Rao NP). Online shopping also has a harmful impact on our environmental safety because having the purchases packed in multiple layers of cardboard and other non-renewable components like plastic would negatively impact on the environment. Still online shopping makes an individual spend less with the community since they would have less of a chance of moving out of home to talk to different people and develop meaningful connections and friendships. Online shopping lacks the structures to support local retailers since they would go out of business if everybody took their business in shopping online.
Although in-store shopping is not superior to online shopping in all circumstances. There are other advantages that come from online shopping that in-store shopping may fail to match. For example, online shopping creates unmatched flexibility and has a convenience that physical stores can’t beat. As the world becomes more competitive and pursuits to acquire more money humanity becomes busier. Many people might abandon their usual practices and embrace the changes (Fuller NP). Nowadays, no matter how busy individuals are, they have the ability to shop online through their laptops or smartphones. Softwares have made it possible to buy online at any given moment be it during the day or night. The necessity to rush through to the mall and walk around before lining up to pay is not a requirement in the digital world. One could save time and money if you incorporate gas and parking fees if shopping instore.
Another key advantage of online shopping is the flexibility of price. Retail shops with an online presence in the United States do not charge sales tax which gives a huge competitive advantage to online retailers (Smith NP). Many of the online retailers would offer shipping services free of charge making the price reduce considerably in good terms. Many of the online retail would provide an annual subscription for free shipping on every item bought, overpricing it of course. Online buyers have the advantage of comparing prices considerably well and come up with some of the best deals. If competition is only faced through the clicks of a few buttons, there has to be a huge incentive available for lower prices. The price of an item is a critical component in ensuring the sale of the items.
Another critical element of online shopping is that the internet has reduced the world into a global village. Decades ago, it was utterly impossible to get some products from other countries or parts of the world (Smith NP). However, circumstances have changed now and people can make orders as far as Southeast Asia to get their products from America. Online shopping also offers a variety that is similar to no other type of shopping. There are countless possibilities of not finding a product in the store however the internet nowadays sells everything. The ability to shop online also offers research capabilities. Just typeset the name of the product in any search engine and get your product.
The ability to shop online makes the art of sending gifts to be easier. Relatives and friends can highly benefit regardless of their location even if they are on another continent. This is because all the after sale services are done for the customer majorly through packaging and shipping. This definitely leaves no room for excuses for not sending a loved one's gifts and cards to special occasions. Online shopping gives the customer more control to decide whatever he or she wants to purchase. In traditional shopping, the store can dictate how a person shops since they might give the opportunity to excesses and spend more than the budget. However, with an online presence, the customer buys whatever is budgeted for and can properly utilize the finances (Smith NP). Online retail comes with no crowds while shopping. During weekends, festivals, and holidays, it is highly likely that shoppers can influx any store which could build up to more problems like hassles in parking grounds or even the noise. Privacy is guaranteed during online shopping since customers can make discreet purchases without third eyes or gossips sometimes. This is because some items are private and should not attract the attention of others who can easily judge public opinion.
In conclusion, there are massive benefits to doing in-store shopping and online shopping. At the same time there exist disadvantages to both. However, people must strike a balance between the good side and the bad side. In-store shopping brings better experiences compared to online shopping. There is the benefit of closely interacting with the products to experience their physical interaction with a product a situation that is distant to online retail. In the process, a customer can actually see and feel the quality of a product. In-store shopping brings instant fulfillment that online shopping does not provide. Upon purchasing a product it becomes yours. However, in online shopping, a person has to wait for days or even much longer for the products to reach his or her destination due to the shipping issues. Furthermore, in-store shoppers bring in the personal interaction of customers and the salespeople which can impact positively in understanding a product better. There are benefits tied to online shopping like the convenience and the price factor, but generally, in-store shopping brings more benefits.
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