Do you like shopping at shops or online stores?
Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no doubt online shopping has changed the way we shop. Both online and traditional shopping have their pros and cons, but which method wins out overall?
Unlike traditional stores, websites are available 24 hours a day and with the click of a mouse you can buy whatever you need at your own convenience. No need to leave the house, or worry about finding a car park, dealing with crowds, or waiting in queues. Traipsing around a shopping centre in search of a particular item or trying on numerous outfits can be time-consuming and exhausting.
So when it comes to convenience, online shopping surely has the edge over traditional shopping…or does it? While you may be able to place your order online whenever you like, you still have to wait until it’s delivered. Whereas if you visit an actual store you have the instant gratification of taking your purchase home with you immediately. Even same-day shipping can’t top that. Plus, aside from the potential cost of parking, with traditional shopping you don’t have to worry about paying for shipping.
Verdict: there’s no doubt online shopping can be convenient, but the time-lag between placing your order and receiving it is anything but convenient. Nothing beats being able to enjoy your purchase straight away. So both traditional and online shopping are about even on this factor.
Ability to touch or see the item in person
One of the biggest downsides of online shopping is the risk involved when you haven’t physically seen or held the item you’ve purchased. The delivery you receive may not necessarily be what you’re expecting – this is especially true when purchasing clothes. Without trying on an outfit it can be hard to judge the type of material, the quality, colour and fit of an item. This is a massive downside of shopping online, which is why many online retailers offer fairly generous return policies, including those who will even pay the cost of postage to return an item; thus minimising the risk to the customer.
This is where traditional shopping will always be the winner. You can’t beat actually physically seeing and holding the item you plan to buy, and if you don’t like the way an outfit looks, you just leave it in the fitting room.
Verdict: when it comes to the ability to hold or try on an item, traditional shopping wins hands down.
Compared to a brick-and-mortar shop, online stores usually have much lower overheads and therefore can pass their savings on to customers via lower prices. This is one of the biggest advantages of online shopping and it’s pretty hard for a traditional store to compete with this. In addition, there are discount coupons available online, plus daily deal sites offering enticing bargains, and other companies offering free shipping and returns. How can a traditional store possibly compete with this?
Verdict: with many consumers visiting a store to try on an item and then purchasing at a cheaper price online, clearly the traditional stores are the losers in this scenario.
So overall, which method of shopping is the winner? Obviously it comes down to individual preference, and most people seem to prefer a combination of the two. But shopping in store offers a few things online shopping can’t compete with:
- It’s social: whether you’re shopping with friends or chatting with the sales assistant, shopping in a traditional store isn’t just about what you purchase. It’s about the atmosphere, the hustle and bustle of the shops, and the chance to grab a coffee and bite to eat with your friend after a successful day of shopping. If you’re at The Strand, there are plenty of delicious dining options on hand for when you shop till you drop.
- Its good exercise: you don’t burn much energy sitting in front of the computer! A day of shopping means a lot of walking around – it’s exercise you don’t even notice you’re doing (the best kind!)
- Sense of achievement: nothing beats the satisfaction of heading to the shops on a mission and finding exactly what you’re looking for – whether it’s a birthday present for that hard-to-buy-for relative or a new outfit for the weekend, shopping can be hard work and that just makes a successful purchase that much sweeter.