Where do you stand on the online shopping vs in-store shopping debate? While some people remain staunchly in favor of in-store shopping, most of us are starting to recognize the undeniable benefits of online shopping.
Sure, it’s a lot easier to inspect or try on the products you’re interested in if you head to the store. You also have a clear point of contact if there does turn out to be some kind of problem with your purchase.
But the advantages of online shopping far outweigh any minor inconveniences you might encounter, especially during the holidays. After all, as hard as holiday movies might try to make Christmas shopping seem like a magical experience, we all know how stressful and frustrating it can be!
Read on to find out more about the many benefits of online shopping.
In the past, the biggest bargains were often only available in-store, especially during Black Friday. These days, however, as well as a whole host of great Cyber Monday deals, it’s easier than ever to find savings online when you’re doing your holiday shopping. What’s more, with many Black Friday online deals and sales starting at midnight, it’s even easier to take advantage of these savings when online shopping from home as there’s no need to rush to the store in time for opening.
As well as special holiday discounts, many online stores offer an introductory discount with your first order so you can save money from the very first time you shop with them. And, since they’ll be keen to keep you as a customer, you can expect reminders about upcoming discounts as well as extra savings and even early entry to sales if you sign up to store newsletters.
Even if you miss out on special deals or the items you want aren’t discounted, online shopping is often cheaper anyway. The main reason for this price difference is that products often come directly from the manufacturer when you shop online. Without the third party in the middle, online stores can pass some of their savings onto you while also maintaining the same or better profit margins.
Also, online retailers don’t have the same overheads as physical stores. Without operating costs such as rent, heat, and water, online stores don’t have to factor these into the mark-up of the products.
Easier Product Comparisons
Being able to view a range of products across the same or different retailers all at the same time is also another clear advantage of online shopping. As well as being able to compare prices, you can weigh up the pros and cons of various models, making it easier to decide which is the best buy for you with respect to your budget and preferences.
Access to Reviews
Another benefit of the online shopping experience is how easy it is to see other people’s experiences of whatever you’re interested in buying.
These reviews can help clarify any doubts you may have, as well as providing you with an objective opinion about the product. For this reason, even when people do shop in-store, 82 percent consult their smartphone before they buy and 45 percent read reviews. Reviews can also highlight factors you hadn’t considered about the product in question or point you in the direction of similar products with more favorable reviews.
Shopping in-store, even on a normal day, can be time-consuming. But factor in holiday congestion, trying to find a parking spot, battling the crowds, and then finally lining up to pay, and you can easily spend the best part of a day buying a single gift. That is, if the store hasn’t already sold out of the item you wanted to buy.
Online shopping, in contrast, takes no time at all. If you know what you want, you can go from typing it into a search engine to filling in your card details within minutes. And, even if you spend some time browsing items, comparing different sites, and reading reviews, fitting in a spot of gift shopping during your lunch break or your commute is a breeze when you can do it all from your phone.
This brings us to another big advantage of online shopping – the fact that online stores are never closed. With 24-hour access to the products you want to view and buy, you’re not restricted to store opening days or times. Feel like comparing cell phone prices at 2 am? No problem! Want to buy a gift for your mother-in-law while you’re lazing in your PJs in the evening? Go ahead!
What’s more, you don’t have to do all your browsing, comparing, researching, and buying in one go. If you’re considering a large, expensive, or important gift purchase, using this 24-hour store access to your advantage can also mean taking your time.
If you do stop midway through the shopping process, you can pick up where you left off whenever you want. Most online stores allow you to save items in your cart and come back to them later. When shopping for gifts this can be especially helpful as you can add gifts as and when you think of them and then pay for everything at once when you’re ready.
Sales assistants are often under pressure to sell more during the holidays and meet their targets for the year. This can often make them extra eager to complete a sale, which many people find intimidating when they’re trying to decide on the perfect present for a loved one. Combine this with holiday crowds and a never-ending gift list and you have the perfect recipe for a stressful shopping experience.
No wonder more and more people are doing their Christmas shopping online. Not only do you get to avoid the crowds, but you also have the freedom to browse for as long as you want without any pressure to buy. Sure, you may get a few marketing emails but it’s a lot easier to ignore them than it is a pushy sales assistant hovering over you.
Physical stores have a limited amount of shelf space, meaning that the variety of goods they sell is also limited. Often, you’ll also find that in-store shopping in different places will still only gives you access to the same, most in-demand items. After all, they want to sell as much as possible so it wouldn’t make sense to stock items that only a few people will buy.
As such, if you’re looking for a more unique gift, online shopping is always the way to go. Online retailers have no physical limitations when it comes to stocking their websites with a wide range of products. As a result, they can offer you different brands, colors, and the kinds of original, unusual, and lower-demand items that make for the perfect holiday gift.
Trying to do your holiday shopping at your local mall or city center also limits your choice of stores to a few select retailers. In contrast, online shopping gives you a never-ending choice of stores to choose from. With no geographical limitations, you can even browse international retailers and buy products you never would have been able to access when shopping in-store.
Ease of Searching
With such a huge range of products to choose from, online shopping could get complicated if we had to scroll through pages and pages of products to find what we want. Luckily, it’s now easier than ever to narrow down your search and find what you want within a few clicks.
For example, if you want to buy your sister a red scarf for Christmas, typing this into the search bar should bring up all the site’s possible matches for red scarves in an instant. You can also shop within certain sections and narrow down your choice by adding filters such as color, price, brand, and so on. Being able to search in this way makes Christmas shopping online a much faster, simpler process than browsing shelves and rails, especially if you have lots of people to buy for.
One of the biggest advantages of online shopping is getting your goods delivered right to your doorstep. This is an especially attractive prospect if you’re buying bulky or heavy items as you don’t need to worry about transporting or lifting them.
When Christmas shopping online, most retailers also offer the option of getting your gifts delivered to your loved ones. This cuts down delivery costs for you and means you don’t have to head to the post office with a ton of packages. In some cases, online retailers will even wrap your gifts so your loved ones still get the full unwrapping experience.
The Top Benefits of Online Shopping
From skipping the crowds to shopping in your PJs, infinite choice to lower prices, there are many clear benefits of online shopping.
And, while you might usually have the time and patience to browse in-store, the added pressure and longer lines of holiday shopping only add to the stress of the festive period. So, why not give yourself a break and do your holiday shopping online this year?!
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