Top 10 Benefits and Disadvantages of Online Shopping - ToughNickel - Money
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Top 10 Benefits and Disadvantages of Online Shopping

Anamika S. Jain is a social media consultant who also loves to shop online.

What are the best reasons to shop online instead of going to a store?

What are the best reasons to shop online instead of going to a store?

Advantages of Online Shopping

The Internet has revolutionized the way we shop. Because of the numerous advantages and benefits, more and more people these days prefer buying things online over the conventional method of going into stores.

What are some reasons that many people love online shopping and why is it so popular? Below are my top ten reasons for shopping online.

Pros and Cons of Shopping Online

Advantages of Shopping OnlineDisadvantages of Shopping Online

Convenience

Negative Environmental Impact of Packaging and Gas

Better Prices

Shipping Problems and Delays

More Variety

Risk of Fraud

Easy to Send Gifts

Less Contact With Your Community

More Control

Spending Too Much Time Online

Easy Price Comparisons

Returns Can Be Complicated

No Crowds

You Don't Know Exactly What You're Getting

No Sales Pressure

Unfriendly, Scammy, or Complicated Websites

Access to Used or Damaged Inventory

No Sales Assistance

Privacy for Discreet Purchases

No Support for Local Retailers

10 Benefits of Shopping Online

  1. Convenience. Convenience is the biggest perk. Where else can you comfortably shop at midnight while in your pajamas? There are no lines to wait in or cashiers to track down to help you with your purchases, and you can do your shopping in minutes. Online shops give us the opportunity to shop 24/7, and also reward us with a ‘no pollution’ shopping experience. There is no better place to buy informational products like e-books, which are available to you instantly, as soon as the payment goes through. Downloadable items purchased online eliminate the need for any kind of physical material at all, as well, which helps the environment!
  2. Better prices. Cheap deals and better prices are available online, because products come to you direct from the manufacturer or seller without involving middlemen. Plus, it's easier to compare prices and find a better deal. Many online sites offer discount coupons and rebates, as well. Not only are prices better, but you can save on tax as well, since online shops are only required to collect a sales tax if they have a physical location in your state. Factor in the saved expense of gas and parking and you have saved yourself a lot of money!
  3. More variety. The choices online are amazing. You can find almost any brand or item you're looking for. You can get in on the latest international trends without spending money on airfare. You can shop from retailers in other parts of the state, country, or even world instead of being limited to your own geography. A far greater selection of colors and sizes than you will find locally are at your disposal. Plus, the stock is much more plentiful, so you'll always be able to find your size and color. Some online shops even accept orders for out-of-stock items and ship when they come in.
  4. You can send gifts more easily. Sending gifts to relatives and friends is easy, no matter where they are. All the packaging and shipping is done for you. Oftentimes, they'll even gift wrap it for you! Now, there is no need to make distance an excuse for not sending a gift on occasions like birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and so forth.
  5. More control. Many times, when we opt for conventional shopping, we tend to spend a lot more than planned and end up buying items that aren't exactly what we wanted (but we can't find anything better in the store). Online, you don't have to let the store's inventory dictate what you buy, and you can get exactly what you want and need.
  6. Easy price comparisons. Comparing and researching products and their prices is so much easier online. If you're shopping for appliances, for example, you can find consumer reviews and product comparisons for all the options on the market, with links to the best prices. We can research firsthand experience, ratings, and reviews for most products and retailers.
  7. No crowds. If you are like me, you hate crowds when you're shopping. Especially during holidays, festivals, or on weekends, they can be such a huge headache. Also, being crushed in the crowds of shoppers sometimes makes us feel rushed or hurried. You don't have to battle for a parking place. All of these problems can be avoided when you shop online.
  8. No pressure. Oftentimes when we're out shopping, we end up buying things that we don't really need, all because shopkeepers pressure us or use their selling skills to compel us to make these purchases.
  9. You can buy used or damaged items at lower prices. The marketplace on the Internet gives us access to listings of old or damaged items at rock bottom prices. Also, if we want to buy antiques, there's no better place to find great ones.
  10. Discreet purchases are easier. Some things are better done in the privacy of your home. Online shops are best for discreet purchases for things like adult toys, sexy lingerie, and so on. This enables me to purchase undergarments and lingerie without embarrassment or any paranoia that there are people watching or judging me.

Additional Benefits of Shopping Online

  • You get an electronic record of the receipt of your purchase, which makes record-keeping much easier.
  • You get to try things on in the comfort of your own home.
  • Sometimes, returns are easy.
  • It saves time!

10 Disadvantages of Online Shopping

  1. Negative environmental impact of packaging and gas. Having your purchase packed in several layers of plastic and cardboard packaging and delivered right to your front door is good for you, but not so great for the environment. Even if you try to recycle the cardboard, you're creating unnecessary waste by shopping online.
  2. Shipping problems and delays. Even the biggest and best shipping companies and online retailers have their bad days, so there's no way to ensure that you'll get your hands on your purchase in time unless you pick it up from a store. Items get lost, detoured, damaged, or delivered to the wrong address more often than you can imagine.
  3. Risk of fraud. If you're shopping online, there's a larger risk of fraud: credit card scams, phishing, hacking, identity theft, counterfeit products, bogus websites, and other scams are common.
  4. Spending too much time online. Especially if your job requires that you look at a computer all day, you might get burnt out on all that screen time. Shopping online can turn into a marathon of scrolling and clicking down rabbit holes and before you know it, you've been online for most of the day. The internet is a nice place to visit, but you probably don't want to live there.
  5. Less contact with the community. If you do all your business online, you'll never have to leave your home. This might be great for a while but sometimes, you might want to go outside, breathe some fresh air, get a change of scenery, talk to real people, participate in your community, and just be a part of the crowd. Sometimes, a computer monitor can't compete with a real human connection.
  6. You don't know exactly what you're getting. Unless you are intimately familiar with a brand or product, buying online requires a leap of faith . . . one that doesn't always end in your favor. Sizes are often imprecise. You can't determine texture, fabric, fit, cut, quality, heft, or durability just by looking at a photo. Products that looked great might feel chintzy, awkward, or cheap when you hold them in your hands.
  7. Returns can be complicated. Some sellers make the process breezy, but many make it extra hard for you to return their merchandise or get a refund. Many times, you can't get reimbursed for any shipping costs. Labeling, packaging, shipping, tracking, and filling out all the proper forms is a hassle you can avoid if you buy in person (and if you hand-select your merchandise, you won't need to return things so often).
  8. Unfriendly, scammy, or complicated websites. Some sites require that you join their mailing list and make it impossible to unsubscribe. Some sell your email address to others, so your email is full of ads. Sometimes, sites don't offer good or accurate descriptions of the goods, or you just can't figure out how to purchase or return an item or speak to customer service.
  9. No sales assistance. In a store, there's usually someone to help you but online, you're on your own. If you're confused or have questions, it's just too bad for you. You might have to make blind purchases and mistakes you'll regret later because there was no one to talk to.
  10. No support for local retailers. If everyone started doing all their shopping online, all the local stores would go out of business. When all the stores in town are gone, we'll have to drive further and further away to shop at a real store. Many people and places have already experienced the negative and sometimes devastating impacts of e-commerce which take away jobs and devastate local economies.

Best and Worst Things to Buy Online

Things You Should Buy OnlineThings You Should Buy In a Store

Electronics (new or refurbished)

Anything you can haggle for to get a better price

Medicine (cheaper and easier, especially when you're sick)

Medicine (watch out for online scams and expired or fake meds)

Clothing (if you know exactly what color, style, and size you want)

Clothing (when you want to touch, try on, and inspect)

Baby supplies (diapers, formula, food)

Anything that should be experienced first (mattresses, furniture, blankets, etc.)

Pet food (cheaper and easier, especially in bulk)

Really heavy items (with pricey shipping costs)

Books (if you know exactly what you want)

Books (if you want to browse, talk to the bookseller, and support your local bookstore so they don't go out of business)

A used car (cheaper and easier without a dealer, unless you need financing)

Anything you might need to return

Groceries (if you don't have time)

Groceries (if you like to choose what you eat and support your local growers and grocers)

Holiday Gifts (the gift wrapping, shipping, and convenience can't be beat)

Any product you haven't tried before (perfume, food items, cosmetics, etc.)

Art (sites like Etsy list original, beautiful art direct from the artist)

A pet (of course!)

Prescription or reading glasses (always cheaper and cuter online)

Real estate (of course!)

Questions to Ask When Shopping Online

When you are buying from online stores, make sure that you do the following:

  • Does the site value your privacy and confidentiality? Is their privacy policy available to read if you want to see it?
  • How long have they been in business? Do they have negative or positive reviews from customers?
  • If you’re unhappy with your purchase, do they have a refund policy?

What do you think?

© 2008 Anamika S Jain

Comments

Justclick shop from iran on September 21, 2017:

It is so much easier to sit at home, find what we need it and then it's delivered to our front door.Online shopping makes it easy for us to compare sellers before buying. we can get more detail before making a decision to buy or not

kane Simicart from USA on December 30, 2015:

Online Shopping is really convenient and saves time and effort for people.

And today are turning to mobile users increasingly strong, and M-commerce has been and will be the inevitable trend of modern times.

Purchasing via mobile really too convenient!

Rukhshan from Pakistan on February 13, 2015:

You will get cheap price, variety, comfort, best deal.

Amazaving on January 16, 2015:

It's the convenience factor for me which makes online shopping so useful. That and the discounts you can find!

RaghavHanda on September 05, 2014:

You are right guys online shopping is a very good way, because online shopping also helped me, in my Urgent shopping cases .

Daddy Paul from Michigan on September 30, 2013:

Yes save money shop online!

Joy from United States on July 08, 2013:

Yes, online shopping is good. Now doing online shopping is become one of my hobby. You will get cheap price, variety, comfort, best deal. What else you want?

S K Sinha from India on April 26, 2013:

I agree to u.... but in today's era everyone is having busy schedule.... so to find out some time from that schedule for shopping is not very easy... so i prefer online shopping because it saves my time and at the mean time provides me great options and a lot of varieties for a particular thing or goods i want to shop for...

bulkmarketplaza on January 04, 2013:

i also prefer online shopping its very convenient

OBrien26 on January 01, 2013:

So true. Shopping online is a god sent to those who aren't big fans of shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. I agree with you. I don't know what I would do without the internet because I do all of my shopping from clothing, to car parts, to exercise equipment, to even supplements. It's like having the world's largest menu for you to choose from.

Qurbani on October 23, 2012:

Internet has totally changed the way we do our Purchasing. Because of the several Advantages and Advantages of Purchasing On the internet more and more people nowadays choose On the internet Purchasing over traditional shopping.

talfonso from Tampa Bay, FL on August 05, 2012:

This is very useful! I buy what other stores in my area don't have online. Speaking of local, it can help you save more on shipping and handling.

monicamelendez from Salt Lake City on July 24, 2012:

I buy a lot of stuff on Amazon and I completely love it. Things are almost always a lot cheaper on there than they are where I live and it's so much more convenient.

Yolanda Gonzalez on June 29, 2012:

Obvious and Concise . I will look more of your post.

webpromotica on June 25, 2012:

Online shopping has provided an amazing way to grab your desired products on discounted price tag...........

tipstoretireearly from New York on June 20, 2012:

My favorite advantage of online shopping are the customer reviews and specifications. It's a great way to find the right product, especially for electronics where its impossible to actually "see" what you're buying at a physical store since the important parts of the product are hidden inside the case.

precy anza from USA on June 16, 2012:

That's why I prefer shopping online, specially with free shipping. And in the list, my favorite reason would be number 6, comparison of prices. And before I decide to buy something I always read reviews first. Awesome hub! Voted up! :)

sakim on May 18, 2012:

shopping online is my hobby. I don't have to spend extra charges on fares. I like it as everything is available with just a click of my fingertip.

Mandy on May 18, 2012:

Can I know more about why can get better prices by online shopping?

Nalinie Abeyasinghe on March 21, 2012:

I like online shopping.Because my timetable is very busy.some items very easy and convenience for apply in online.Shopping online can be better for life. bigger variety or number of international apply so fast.I send some gift item online shopping two weeks presented..final online shopping make comparison and research and prices very possible.

Oyewole Folarin from Lagos on March 09, 2012:

The benefits of online shopping should not be undermined. Apart from convenience attached to this, it's cost saving for those that know how to get the best deal online.

Radhika Sreekanth from Mumbai,India on February 20, 2012:

I too prefer online shopping to conventional shopping. One main advantage I've seen with online shopping is that you get the right product of your choice. If you go to shops, you'll end up buying with salesmen's choice, not yours. Nice hub. Voted up as useful.

Sharing with my friends here.

m from New Zealand on February 10, 2012:

That's so true. I also prefer online shopping. Thanks for this hub.

Ambika on February 07, 2012:

Hi.. I must thank you for excellent information.. I am a fellow writer like you.. I got some valuable information from your article.. as we all do.. But unlike other i prefer to thank the information's source if possible. Thanks of your information.. Bye..

anonymous on February 04, 2012:

this article helped me quite a lot in my assignment.....

lex123 on January 28, 2012:

You have rightly mentioned all the benefits of online shopping. However, I will add one more thing - preferably shop from your own computer, and avoid a public computer for online shopping, for the sake of security.

Lak on January 24, 2012:

Yah, online shopping was always been a great experience to me too. But I am curious to know, what is the stuff that majority of them love to buy online?

how-to-make from India on January 10, 2012:

ultimate hub. You have covered allmost all parts of online shopping benefits in this hub. I like it.

Ravi Singh from India on December 18, 2011:

Thanks for the hub.but still there are some items you can't buy online like shoes, even some dress as you want to get a trial of that.In online shopping returning item and ask for refund is a long process.what you think?

Jeanne Chinn on December 05, 2011:

I love online shopping because my dog is not allowed in a lot of stores, even though he is well behaved. I hate crowds and lines too. Holiday shopping is stress free this way and if you're worried about using your credit card online, you can get a pre-paid credit card to eliminate that worry.

martina on November 25, 2011:

hi Anamika, i totally agree with your article. I want to ask u something more about the on-line shopping in India!! what do u think about it??!! which type of Indian people are actually using online sites to buy on sites like Yebhi.com or 99labels.com?? can u give me some advices about it. Im writing a thesis about it and all your suggestions can be helpful for me. Thanks

wanderlust9 on November 07, 2011:

Better prices is one of the main reasons that online shopping has taken off. The simple fact that the middle men are cut out of the delivery chain leads to a reduction in the cost and thus the final price of the product.

Tiara on November 06, 2011:

I completely understand. Thank you so much.

Anamika S Jain (author) from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on November 05, 2011:

@Tiara This article was first published on 17/10/2008. This is a copyrighted article and you are not allowed to republish it but You may link to my hub here.

Tiara on November 05, 2011:

Hello Anamika! I am writing a compare and contrast paper about shopping online. I wanted to use some of your ideas and I need to in text cite. I was wondering if you could tell me when this article was first posted.

Rakesh on November 04, 2011:

Your post completely describes the good things of online shopping. And I cannot agree more. Online shopping is indeed convenient and hassle free. In India more and more people are shopping online each day. And they are reaping the benefits as well. Some websites are also offering online shopping of grocery products – which I think is a leap forward from the typical online selling. In the future, I am sure to find more online sellers online!

Marketing strategy on November 03, 2011:

Great post! I am impressed with the article and thanks very much for sharing good information.

susannah42 from Florida on September 06, 2011:

Since I started shopping online, I never go into a store. It is so much easier to sit at home, find my size, color and style and then it's delivered to my front door.

Shito on August 29, 2011:

Its really awesome do online shopping!!!!!!!!

Deven on August 25, 2011:

Hi,

There is no comments from Anamika, just missing her.

shopping online on August 04, 2011:

With online shopping, you, the consumer will benefit greatly from this endless battle of retailers. Everyone is always looking for a great deal, online shopping can provide all this. Another excellent example of the advantage of saving money is called "single line". These are the deals that are generally offered by retailers, also have an online sales structure. The advantage is that they often offer great discounts and savings only for those who purchase specific products online.

Mindy Bench from Oregon on July 27, 2011:

Awesome Hub! I love to shop! Never really thought about writing a story on it :)

john2000 on July 27, 2011:

Really nice post. I prefer online shopping.

MarloByDesign from United States on March 02, 2011:

Great hub, but I am surprised you do not mention online coupons codes.

Eleanor Maw on February 15, 2011:

I used to like going shopping in town, but nowadays the car park charges are so high that it puts me off, I found I love shopping online as I don't have to put up with shop assistance coming up to me asking me what am I looking for, if I want their assistance I would ask, with online shopping I can look at what they have to offer with out some twat in a blue shirt not letting me look around in peace.

shopper-guide from US-Thailand on January 29, 2011:

Great point - I love online shopping which make easy for me to compare seller before buy it. Good for buyer when they need to get more stuff detail before make decision to buy or not.. Compare and Review -- that's the thing I love when need to buy sometimg online..

ratnaveera from Cumbum on January 27, 2011:

Great plus points of Online Shopping! This Hub would be helpful to get rid of unnecessary fears about online shopping! Thanks Anamika S! BEAUTIFUL HUB!

couponcharlie from New York, NY on January 14, 2011:

Shopping online is so much more convenient that messing with the crowds in the store. Those that are concerned with using their credit card at multiple different sites can get prepaid gift cards to spend on the web and in store. Many companies also offer free shipping for large purchases.

Vino M on November 23, 2010:

As online shopping gains momentum more and more benefits continue to emerge such as environmental and benefits for the elderly and those disabled.

shaekelly from Alabama on October 13, 2010:

I Absolutely adore this hub because I so can relate to it. I love to shop online it is a captivating experience and what I love the most is the privacy of the matter, u know how u may have a main event to attend , and everyone is trying to figure out what your wearing; online shopping is a more secure way in keeping your shopping private. Keep up the good work and please follow me I am definitely following u and feel free to leave some constructive criticism or advice.

Listerino on September 25, 2010:

Nice work. I might link to you hub at some point. Really highlights why online shopping is so great (and why I'm addicted) :D

Johnli on August 13, 2010:

Totally agreed. Online shopping will become a necessity for most of the people in the world. You can just easily company price, features, function and get the latest updates of any products just by your mouse!!

Seakay from Florida on August 09, 2010:

Yes, online shopping is the best! I do all my Christmas shopping online. Love it!

John R Wilsdon from Superior, Arizona on August 07, 2010:

Well done.

Anamika S Jain (author) from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on May 19, 2010:

Kif4yas: I am happy that you found the article useful. You can use gift cards and debit cards to shop online too apart from bank transfers, paypal etc.

Kif4yas from Dubai, United Arab Emirates on December 01, 2009:

Its very interesting to read your hubs. I have never shopped online due to many reasons, first of all i dont have credit card as i have a low income. I always thought shopping online was risky I heard the sites drain the credit card. You made it very simple for shopping online with this hub. I dont know if I will be able to shop, but I have some knowledge. Thank you very much for this Hub.

Anamika S Jain (author) from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on November 09, 2009:

Thanks for the Comments websitesecurity and katrinasui.

katrinasui on November 08, 2009:

Nice hub. It is definitely better than mine...

websitesecurity from Utah on April 11, 2009:

I totally agree with you! I love shopping online. It's just so much easier than lugging my daughter around with me and you can find great deals just about everywhere that make up for the shipping and handling fees. One thing that I do look for when I shop online is secure sights. It's important to make sure these sights are keeping our information safe!

Anamika S Jain (author) from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on November 05, 2008:

Thanks for the comments and support Sally.

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on October 25, 2008:

Nice Hub! I hate to shop, and online shopping has saved myself and my friends and family from going without. If it weren't for Staples, Amazon, eBay, and a wonderful selection of smaller internet sellers, I wouldn't buy anything. Yup, jammies for me.

Thumbs up!

Anamika S Jain (author) from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on October 21, 2008:

Thanks for the comments Nimesh. I remember you telling me that while chatting.

Nimesh on October 21, 2008:

It's true that onine shoping save time and give much comfort.

I do online shoping very frequently and very much happy with it....

Anamika S Jain (author) from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on October 18, 2008:

Thanks Lisa for your comment. I have bought a lot of things online including ebooks, gemstone jewelry and dresses. But i was not disappointed either.

Lisakg from Caribbean on October 18, 2008:

It's very true that you find items cheaper online than in a retail store. I have shopped online several times and have not been disappointed. Great hub.

Anamika S Jain (author) from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on October 18, 2008:

Thanks for your Comments.

Subhashis Chakrabarty on October 17, 2008:

true ideas n thoughts! nice to go through! thanks!

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