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Online Shopping vs. Traditional Shopping: Pros and Cons

Online Shopping vs. Traditional Shopping
Written by Irina Vasilescu

You’re ready to go on a little shopping spree. Perhaps you want to update your wardrobe, buy kitchen appliances, or do your Christmas gift shopping. Which do you choose, online shopping or traditional shopping? As with just about any choice, there are pros and cons to both. We compare the two styles of shopping. See if we’ve spotted anything you didn’t think about!

Online shopping pros are traditional shopping cons

There’s a lot to be said in favor of online shopping, particularly when you’re choosing certain types of item. The advantages of online shopping are also the disadvantages of regular shopping. Just turn each point on its head, and there it is!

  • Oodles of choice: there’s no shortage of “shelf space” in an online store, and there are so many of them! Shopping around is just a matter of a few mouse clicks.
  • Need something unusual? Just google it! So you want a traditional veggie steamer just like your grandmother had. You can spend the whole day shopping without finding one, or you can let the search engines do your legwork for you.
  • No need to drive around, find parking, and get stressed out in traffic: Just chill out on your couch while you shop. No stress!
  • Shop any time you like: Business hours? What’s that? There’s no closing time online.
Online Shopping vs. Traditional Shopping: Pro and Cons

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  • Compare prices easily: You don’t have to visit several shops taking notes as you go before deciding to go back to the first shop you visited to clinch a deal. Just bookmark the pages you’re interested in or open a new tab.
  • Know how much you’re spending: Add to cart, add to cart, check total. Oops! I took too much! Let’s just drop a few of these items. In a regular store, you might still be surprised when you get to the checkout unless you’re good at mental adding up.
  • Free shipping: This can also work against you when shipping isn’t free, so be sure to check!
  • Delivery to friends or family: Buy a gift, select a delivery address. No need for extra posting or a long drive.
  • No queues: Standing around in queues is probably not your favorite activity. You can save lots of time with online shopping, and this is one of the big time-savers.
  • You can check out reviews: In a regular shop, you can’t ask hundreds of people what they thought of the product you’re considering buying. Hit online stores, and you’ll often find more reviews than you could ever get around to reading!
  • Buy at wholesale prices: Traditional retailers hate this option, but with few overheads to cover, online stores can offer things at prices far below the regular retail price.

Advantages of traditional shopping are online shopping cons

There are some advantages you can only get in a brick and mortar store. Online shopping just doesn’t have it when it comes to these points.

  • You can turn it into a special occasion: The buzz at the mall, the beautiful seasonal displays, the chance to meet up with friends and shop together – none of these are really possible online.

Traditional Shopping

  • Touch and try: If you’re buying clothing or shoes, you can try things on to see how they look on you and whether they fit. You can feel the fabric to decide if you’ll like the texture.
  • Take a closer look: Professional photos online can make just about anything look great! But is it so great? At traditional stores, you can view from every angle, check things like weight and stitching, and get a better idea of overall quality.
  • Get personal service: The human element of store shopping shouldn’t be overlooked. You can ask questions, get advice, or just a friendly smile.
  • Take it home with you right away: Online shopping lacks the element of instant gratification. You must wait for delivery. Don’t you love the feeling of arriving home after a successful shopping expedition laden with packages? Even when online stores promise fast delivery, mistakes can creep in, leaving you tracking packages instead of enjoying your purchase.
  • Easy returns: You don’t like it? It doesn’t work? It didn’t fit? Simply take it back to the store. Although you can return items purchased online, returns are more time-consuming and complicated. It’s also easier to claim on guarantees at a brick and mortar store.
  • Better security: There have been so many hacks into online transactions. It’s better than it used to be, but you can’t ever be absolutely sure your data isn’t getting stolen. And there are scam stores too… At an ordinary shop, you pay more securely and leave with the goods.

Too many choices?

If weighing up these pros and cons leaves you hesitating as to where to shop, you can do what most people do. Apparently, people like to buy familiar items of predictable quality online. If you know the brand and know what to expect, you could find better prices online.

On the other hand, most people prefer to buy small, day-to-day items at regular stores. They also prefer to buy clothing there, because they can be sure of the quality and fit. Bigger items that people prefer to buy at traditional outlets include cars – after all, you’ll want a test drive – and expensive appliances they want a closer look at.

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Online Shopping vs. Traditional Shopping: Pros and Cons

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About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our money-saving and DIY expert and also the editor-in-chief as she's always on the lookout for the latest online deals.


  • Online shopping has many benefits. There are many discount offers available for online shopping and it saves a lot of time also. I always prefer to buy things online instead of going to the market.

    • These days they are selling cheap products on online shopping sites for higher price, the same product would cost you half in a retail store. The only time I would prefer online shopping is when I don’t find a book in a store.

  • the use of online shopping is much easier than going to physical stores. you could avail your desired product by a click of a button. nonetheless, its much reliable to go to physical stores to check if is there any factory defects.

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