Online Shopping; Yes or No

The internet is teeming with life and it is wondrous; isn’t it? It enables us procrastination with perfectly plausible excuses, offers a plethora of entertainment, and allows us to discover and purchase things that were once only the stuff of dreams. Online shopping has become ever more accessible and prominent over the year and people can’t stop gushing with pride over it.

Despite this however, some people don’t want to feel like a slave serving capitalism and the “modern times”, and jumping on the bandwagon isn’t their cup of tea. So they stick to the idea of remaining loyal to traditional shopping methods employed since our ancestors used to trade sheep skins for a bag of grains! And this isn’t wrong, at all! I took great pains to talk to these two communities’ poles apart from each other, and here are their reasons for their choice:

Why Online Shopping is the Best thing Invented since Sliced Bread

· Convenience

While wearing pajamas in bed doesn’t allow you to accomplish much, online shopping is an exception! No matter where you are, all you have to do is fire up your laptop, peruse through an enormous hodgepodge of online products and stores, in a fraction of the time it takes in a brick and mortar store setting. Not to mention, online stores are assessable around the clock and deliver your purchases right at your doorstep.

Online retailers have indubitably gone to great lengths to boost the customer E-shopping experience. This includes comments and reviews on the products you are interested in, images that can be maneuvered, animations and videos elucidating the use of the products, and ease of locating the products of your choice by employing an assortment of filters. Nothing could get better than this.

· The Ability to Compare Prices

Love at first sight is hardly in good taste! While ambling through the aisles in a traditional store, it’s easy to gravitate to the most attractive pieces at a glance and toss them over your mountainous “getting this” pile. This is because you are drunk on the shopping spree and it’s a challenge to put much thought into whether you could glean it for a better price at some other retailer. Its right in front of your eyes, it’s relatively cheap, it’s what you were looking for, and you’re going to get it. On the other hand, when you shop online, you have ample opportunities to click from vendor to vendor researching the item, so that you can garner it at the best price.

· Online Deals and Promotions

E-retailers are fighting tooth and nail with conventional retail outlets and amongst themselves to win your custom. That accounts for the barrage of alerts, SMS’, and emails you receive daily regarding the latest promotions. Additionally, you can scour the internet for special discounts and amazing online coupon codes before checking out. Many companies and retailers send coupons to their customers, who have opted into their newsletters and email marketing campaigns, delivering them with the service information and latest products, and what current promotions they are holding.

· Products are often more inexpensive

Here’s a real charmer; products cost considerably less online than they do in physical stores. There might be myriad reasons for this. For starters, an online store is not encumbered with the staggering overhead costs of paying for the cashiers, salesmen, AC, and other amenities, and renting their location. Additionally, a product might cost differently in different countries. In this case, it is often prudent to shop online and save your hard earned bucks. I have personally saved a fortune over years of online shopping ventures.

· Larger Inventory

When shopping online, it is a piece of cake to find the right size, style, color, model number, and item that you were looking for. It’s also easy to determine if the product is in stock or not. Additionally, online shopping doesn’t confine you geographically; the pool of available inventory and products for you to choose from is infinitely loftier than those available to you through local stores within driving distance. You can easily compare functions, features, and price, and get the latest updates of any products in a giffy! Having all these plentiful options at the tip of your fingertips is an amazing benefit!

· No Hassle or Lines

Online shopping affords much more relaxation in myriad ways, partly because it alleviates hassle and the need to wait out taxing queues. Online shopping doesn’t leave you fretting endlessly over the excessively aggressive salesperson, finding workable places to park, and the interminable queues that make you question the worth of it all. Not to mention lugging along non-consenting wailing toddlers, who are screaming bloody murder! Plus, you can save a few dollars on gas every time you avert driving down to the mall, which you can use for even more online stuff.

· Saves Time for the Busy

Some people are so busy that they scarcely have time to take the trouble of walking around an entire store only to realize that the store has run out of the item they came for, or even worst, they find nothing they wanted after laborious hours of drifting from store to store. With online shopping, these busy bees can use the search section of various online stores and find exactly what they want, before getting back to their busy day stress free; all in a matter of 20 minutes or less.

· It’s easier to stumble upon rare products

When it comes to shopping for rare products, internet fits the bill. For instance, if it rarely snows in your home town, you won’t find a good selection of skiing equipment in your local stores. However, you are going to need viable gear if you plan a vacation online. You’ll have greater odds of getting a better selection online than in your local stores. I bought a rare car part through EBay recently. Not only did I finally find it, the part was relatively inexpensive compared to if had bought it from a retailer.

Why it’s not so great!

· See It, Touch It, Feel It

Some shoppers are not only content with merely looking at seemingly lustrous pictures of products. They like to feel and see a product in person, and perhaps even try it on or test it out prior to purchasing. By looking at the item, they are able to physically inspect and feel the product, and make a far more judicious assessment of its quality. When you shop online, you may not be able to try out the product until it is sitting at your door, and then if it fails to meet your expectation, you will have to send it back in lieu of something better, that is if the company accepts returns in the first place!

· Shipping Costs

These days, most online stores lure you in with a promise of free shipping if you meet a certain purchasing requirement, however, some stores don’t. Depending on where you are shopping online, you could be giving away a fortune to shipping costs, sometimes equaling the actual cost of the product.

· Returns/Refunds Disputes

What if you open up your parcel with enthralling anticipation, only to realize it doesn’t even come close to the description online, or god forbid, is damaged. You’ll want to be refunded your money and return the product. There can be confounding polices for returns and refunds, depending on where you made your purchase. The tedious process is further protracted since you have to ship back the item and wait out patiently for the vendor to respond and refund your payment, considering they are indeed scrupulous.

· Wait Time

Unless you opt for overnight shipping, which can cost you an arm or leg and should only be reserved for emergencies, you’ll face an extensive waiting time. After putting forward your order, you’ll have to sit back patiently until those awesome new headphones or that brand new top decides to make a special appearance at your door. This could be a bit exasperating and stressful for extremely impatient folks.

· Price Negotiations

For those who couldn’t live with themselves if they buy a product without negotiating a better price first, it’s more prudent to go in a traditional store for it because online shopping doesn’t cater to this option. There is no salesman or clerk to woo over with your quick talks and charm, so good luck flashing WINNING smiles to your laptop.

· Not Knowing If A Site Is Safe

When you shop online, there is no way to know if a site is secure. Without being absolutely sure, it is perilous to use your credit card, debit card, and personal information for online purchases. On the other hand, you can push these concerns to the back of your mind when you go into a physical retailer.

My Verdict

Being an avid shopaholic, I would probably have had to take up residence in some nook and cranny of the malls, judging by the painstaking research I undertake before buying anything. After all, as hard as I may wish, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Some of us have to make do with the bucks in hands and seeing our hard earned bills fly out the window is simply gloomy. The enticing discounts, too good to be true deals, and mesmerizing offers I manage to get my hands on online are too tempting to overlook.

Though I do run out to the mall every once in a while, it is just to get the feel of it. The rest of the time, I am content to sit in my PJs, browsing through store after store, clicking my way around instead of exhausting my poor legs, rummaging through product after product without an annoying salesperson hovering over my vision, jumping from vendor to vendor trying to get my chosen products at the lowest costs, and check out in a jiffy once I am done. *Adjusts pillow* Then, I am back to popcorns, soda, and Netflix!