The world of internet is rewarding – almost like a fantasy. It’s where you can put things at pause, make social connections, connect with the world, and buy stuff that you’ve always dreamed of. Thanks to the vogue of online shopping, people around the world can easily access millions of brands around the world, be it getting a Louis Vuitton bag, Ann Taylor's Fashion or an iPhone. The possibilities are unlimited and so are the wants of people.
However, even with this trend, we still have people who hate falling prey to being a slave under this capitalism or in other words, online shopping trend. Such people still opt for traditional shopping where they’d rather visit a store physically to purchase things than just clicking things away online. Because of individual differences and personal preferences, we can’t call that wrong, but it’s important to note that there are pros and cons of both of them. Not just that, but there are also key differences between them which we will highlight in this article.
Online Shopping and Its Pros
Online shopping is the digital medium of shopping where customers and sellers are able to purchase and sell products and services online. They sell through their e-commerce websites where at times, payments are made online too. Some of the benefits include:
- There are no geographical limitations. People from anywhere in the world and at any time that is convenient for them. There are no store opening or closing timings.
- Great variety. There are unlimited choices on the internet and they’re easily accessible too. There are so many brands, local as well as international, some are even pages made on social media platforms which sell their services or products.
- Sending gifts to others has never been made easy. Going through the hassle of visiting many shops just to buy an appropriate and memorable gift is a long gone scenario as online shopping has opened doors for doing this task digitally without any trouble.
- Price comparisons are easier. With online shopping, you can compare prices of a product on various websites, to find the one which fits your budget.
However, where there are pros, there are also cons. So, let’s explore what they are below.
- Deception is common. Since customers cannot touch or see the products in person, it may be possible that the product ordered is defected in some way. What is advertised is often not what’s received which can be discouraging for many.
- Delivery/shipment timings may vary. Each online website/brand may have its own timings for the products to be delivered. For some, it may be within the same day or next, but for others, the delivery time can be as long as 7 days to a month or so.
- Delivery charges and mishandling is also an issue. Some brands may allow you free delivery if you exceed the order limit, but some may still charge an amount which is a bummer. Plus, there’s a possibility of your items getting broken or rotten during shipment.
- It can be a dull experience along with the risk of fraud. Since there’s no excitement in online shopping, that drawback is coupled with the risk of fraud as many brands are not even legit.
Traditional Shopping and Its Pros
Traditional shopping is the form of shopping where a person has to physically go to a store to purchase a product or to avail a service. This may consist of going to brand outlets or shopping malls to purchase goods and services. Some of the pros of traditional shopping are:
- You can touch and see the products that you’re going to buy. This is the biggest pro of traditional shopping as you can’t be deceived in any way. You can investigate the product carefully before purchasing it.
- Easy communication with other customers and the shop personnel allows traditional shopping to still be in trend for some people.
- You can easily try the products which you want to buy in traditional shopping such as, shoes or clothes.
- You can easily and quickly return or exchange the products.
However, the cons include:
- Time restrictions on when the shop will open or close can really put off some customers.
- There’s a separate expense of taking out time and going to the shop on your own (i.e., fare costs).
- You can’t really compare prices when you’re standing at a shop.
- There’s much less variety as you can’t go to other shops quickly to check for other options.
Having discussed the pros and cons of each of these mediums of shopping, let’s highlight the key differences between both of at a glance, in the table given below.
Comparison Between Online Shopping & Traditional Shopping
|Online Shopping||Traditional Shopping|
|Buying over the internet||Buying at physical stores|
|Shop any time and any where||Shop at specific timings and stores|
|Cannot touch or try the products||Can touch, see and try products|
|Risk of fraud/receiving a faulty product||Relatively safer|
|Complications in returning a product||Easy returns and exchanges|
|Easy price comparisons||Difficulty in comparing prices|
|Minimum interaction with shop personnel||Lots of interaction with shop personnel|
That brings an end to our comparison between online and traditional shopping. Though both excel in their own ways and are unlikely to ever go out of trend, in the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems like online shopping has definitely taken the lead and made many of us become a victim of it – or not even a victim, but a follower of it.
Desperate times call for desperate measures and this is just that. We are living in times where going out is only a risk because even if we do follow the SOPs, there’s a chance of catching the virus some way or the other, and this is where online shopping seals the deal.