The internet has revolutionized the way we shop. No longer is it necessary to visit every shop on the high street, looking for the right part. Now, you can sit in the comfort of your own home and order your weekly groceries, a party dress or the latest piece of technology. Whilst online shopping has enabled many small businesses to survive in extremely competitive marketplaces, it is not always the right answer for your needs! The following list of advantages and disadvantages should be considered before you decide where to purchase your next item:

Advantages of Online Shopping

  • Convenience

Being able to shop online is convenient; you can sit in the comfort of your armchair and surf the internet for the item that you really want or need. Alternatively, you can be sat in a waiting room or even on a bus and, by the power of mobile internet; order any item you want. There is no need to race to a shop, simply click and wait for the delivery!

  • Time Saver

As well as offering the convenience of shopping whenever you want, you will find that shopping online can have a huge time saving benefit. This is especially true if you know what you want. You do not need to go to the trouble of locking the house up and driving to your nearest shop; which may or may not have the required item. All you need to do is click onto the internet, type the item into the search engine and choose your supplier. Within a few minutes you will have paid and can get back to whatever else you were doing!

  • Price Comparison

A huge advantage of the internet is that you can quickly and easily compare prices for a specific product. You can opt to visit a price comparison site and assess the different prices a product is advertised at. Or you can simply open several tabs and look in your favorite stores yourself. Whichever route you choose it is easy to compare the price of a part. If you choose not to shop online you will need to ring potential suppliers or even visit to confirm the price and whether they have availability. This is all covered for you online.

  • Awkward Purchases

There are times when you need to buy something that you don’t really want to. This may be an item of lingerie for your partner or a sex toy; you may even simply want some herbal medication without alerting everyone to your illness. Whatever the issue, if you find it difficult or embarrassing to purchase the item in person then you can take advantage of online shopping, order the product and have it delivered with no one else needing to know.

  • Available Anytime with fast Delivery

Another advantage of online shopping is the fact that you can order the item or items you need at any time. If you work shifts and are unable to visit a shop then it does not become an issue; simply order what you want online. Most stores have search engines and fast checkouts to ensure it takes the minimal possible time to locate and order what you want. You can also opt for fast delivery; most places will let you have it the next day. Of course, you will need to order before the cut off time.

Disadvantages of Online Shopping

  • The Touch test

This is particularly relevant when you are purchasing something to wear; whether an item of clothing or a pair of glasses. Sometimes to really appreciate the quality of an item or to ensure you will be happy with it, you need to look at it and feel it for yourself. This is not something that can be done when shopping online. Although you can order items and return them, there are charges and a time delay involved in this; generally making it a less effective choice than shopping locally.

  • Advice

A physical shop will have physical assistants who are there to help you. Although most online stores have live chat, email and even phone contact; none of these are as effective as talking to a person face to face. When physically stood in front of someone you can assess their attitude and whether they would purchase the item you are considering. There is a world of information which can be extracted from a person as opposed to the faceless customer service personnel.

  • Instant Gratification

In a world where everyone expects instant results, shopping can still provide the thrill and instant gratification that shopping online simply cannot provide. There is a certain excitement about being able to purchase an item and walk away with it there and then. Even the best online shops cannot match this feeling yet!

  • No Shipping or returns Cost

Shopping online is often considered a cheaper option. This is partly because you can easily compare the prices in a variety of shops and partly because online shops do not have the expenses associated with high street shops. There is no lease, rent or premises insurance to pay and this can make a difference to the price. However, there are shipping costs to consider and you will also incur return charges if you need to return an item. Even a piece of clothing that is the wrong size. The cost of returning may be zero but you will need to pay return postage. This could well make it more expensive than simply purchasing in store in the first place.

  • Genuine Supplier

A final disadvantage of shopping online is the inability to really assess a supplier or even build a rapport with them. Many online suppliers come and go quickly leaving you constantly looking for another one. The firms which do stick around may offer good service but are still not inclined to waste time building a rapport. To ensure you have a supplier that you can trust you may prefer to use a local one; this at least ensures a physical face if you need to complain or exchange an item.

Online shopping is a huge leap forward and has its place in society. But, this does not mean you have to use an online shop every time. It is advisable to think about what you need and how quickly you need it before you choose where to purchase it from.