There are so many options when it comes to shopping. There’s online, in-store, subscription boxes, and more. With all these options it can be difficult to determine which is the best for you and your shopping needs. Of course, all these options have good and bad qualities that could help in making that decision. For this blog, we’ve investigated both in-store and online shopping and crafted a list of the benefits and drawbacks of each.
So, let’s start with online shopping… What are the benefits and drawbacks?
- Convenience: With online shopping, you never have to leave your house to go shopping. You can make a purchase wherever you are using your computer, phone, or tablet within minutes. Convenience is easily one of the greatest benefits of online shopping. If you’re looking for a specific product, you can use online retailers to compare prices. Maybe one retailer is offering a discount on that product or has a discount code that you can use. Maybe one retailer has the product listed for a much lower price. Shopping online gives you the ability to shop on your schedule.
- Customer Reviews: Reading reviews from others who have purchased the item will give you a candid view of the quality of the product before buying it. Hearing first-hand reviews that aren’t coming from a sales associate can help you make the decision that’s best for you before purchasing a product. Knowing the good and bad qualities of a product makes it much easier to make your purchase decision.
- Online Only Discounts: In this day and age social media social media influencers, online stores, and brand websites often have discount codes that can only be used online for various brands or products. Because they need to be used online these are typically not discounts that can be found in-store. There are also brands that offer “online-only” sales. Saving a little extra money is a huge selling point for online shopping.
- Online-only Stores: What if your favorite store only has a couple of store locations, none of which are located near you? What if a store you’ve been dying to shop at is online-only. Knowing your favorite stores are only a click away is a huge benefit for online shopping.
- Delivery: Ordering a product online typically means you won’t receive it for another 7-10 business days and even this time frame typically comes at a cost. To decrease that wait time, the shipping costs begin to skyrocket. The additional wait time paired with the potential cost of shipping is one of the biggest deterrents for online shopping.
- Trying Products: Testing different products, feeling the material, trying different sizes, etc… are all important aspects of the shopping experience that are lacking from online shopping. Purchasing products online can lead to an unwanted surprise when the products come in if it’s not the right size, made with cheap material or doesn’t work the way you’d hoped it would. The only way to ensure you’re getting exactly what you’re expecting is to test and purchase in-store.
- No Immediate Assistance: Online shopping often leads to a lack of assistance (which can be both good and bad…) The negative aspect comes in when you need to contact the brand’s customer service team. It can take anywhere from 1 –3 days to receive a first response via email only adding more wait time to the online shopping experience. Having this communication barrier when you need assistance can be frustrating and is a big drawback for online shopping.
- Lack of experience: There is no shopping experience/interaction when products are purchased online. You’re not able to walk around the mall with your friends, make memories, engage with the store, etc…
Now that we’ve looked at online, let’s see what the benefits and drawbacks of in-store shopping are:
- Trying Products: Trying different sizes, learning how a product actually works, feeling the material, essentially getting a full understanding of the product is a huge benefit to in-store shopping. Knowing exactly what you’re getting and knowing how it will fit, work, etc… is incomparable.
- In-store Only Discounts: Like online-only discounts, there are in-store-only discounts as well. Some stores have in-store only sales, and many stores offer student and military discounts that typically can only be taken advantage of in-store. Taking advantage of these offers is a great idea if you’re looking to save a little extra money. Looking at when and where you can get the best discounts can be a huge factor in deciding to shop in-store or online.
- Instant gratification: What is better than getting the product you purchased the day you bought it? Buying something in-store guarantees that you’ll get to buy and take the product home that same day. In this day and age, instant gratification is almost expected and in-store shopping can give that to you. What if the product you were looking for isn’t available at the store? In that case, you can also have them order the product for you and ship it to your house (usually with free shipping!! – not all stores have this policy**).
- In-store experience/Mobee: Many stores have begun shifting towards creating in-store experiences for shoppers. By being in the store with friends or family, listening to the music, trying on clothes, testing products, etc… you’re making memories with the people you care about. This is something that is not possible with online stores because you don’t need to go out and share that experience. In-store you’re also able to use Mobee to enhance your shopping experience, potentially complete more Missions, and earn rewards to help with your shopping expenses.
- Product availability: Going to a store, there is no guarantee that the product you’re looking for will be available at that location. While you typically can have the store order the product for you, if you wanted to try the product before buying it, this wouldn’t benefit you. A lack of product availability when you need it can be a big downfall for in-store shoppers.
- Limited by store hours: With in-store shopping, you’re only able to go while the stores are open. While this is typically most of the day, online stores never close giving you much more time to look based on your schedule. The limited hours can be frustrating when there’s a lot you need to do in a limited amount of time.
- Too much assistance: Looking back at lack of assistance as an online shopping downfall, overly involved assistance from sales associates can be a drawback to in-store shopping. Whether you’re just looking or don’t feel like you need the help, sales associates will always be in stores ready to help. The more involved staff will come over to you as soon as you enter the store and continue to check in. Depending on your shopping style and needs this can be either a positive or negative for in-store shopping.
- Time: Going to stores requires a lot of time and energy, from the drive to and from the store, the time spent in the store, etc… You’ll need to make sure you have enough time to fit a whole shopping experience into your day.
Overall, there are benefits and drawbacks to both online shopping and in-store. Deciding which option is best for you will depend on which factors are most important to you. Online shopping and in-store do not need to be fully separated either. With features like “order-online and pick-up in-store,” it’s now possible to get the best of both worlds.
Choosing to shop online one week and in-store the next is also an option. Each time you need or want to buy something there may be different factors that determine which benefits are more important to you. Understanding the benefits and drawbacks will only help you make that decision each time you need to. We hope you enjoy all your shopping adventures. Make sure you bring Mobee along, so you can earn points and gift cards while you shop!