The Pros and Cons of Shopping Online

by Erika Torres
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The Internet has quickly become the go-to marketplace for our every retail need. If the price is right and the shipping is reasonable, your desktop, laptop, iPad or mobile device evolve into a one-stop shop for anything from clothing, to electronics, to groceries. Now more than ever, consumers are going online to buy, and with this transition comes a number of benefits as well as setbacks. Before you go to checkout, make sure you’ve checked off from this list of online shopping pros and cons to ensure a positive purchase:

The Pros of Shopping Online

You can find the best bargains

First and foremost, shopping online allows you the freedom to compare prices and choose from thousands of retailers at the click of a mouse. No longer are you forced to trudge from one store to the next, or are limited to what is geographically in your area. You can shop around without driving around, and keep an eye out for unmatched deals, because after all…

You can shop when it’s convenient for you

Rain or shine, day or night, you can shop your favorite brands online. The ease of online shopping can be a relief for the busy consumer. Not quite sure you want to make the purchase just yet? Many retailers are echoing Amazon’s approach and allowing visitors to create Wish Lists to save items you might want to buy at a later date, while in the meantime keeping you up-to-date on the pricing and availability through email. Whether you’re on the train or on the couch, online shopping lets you avoid long lines at the cash register. On top of that…

You can earn rewards when you shop online

Retailers eager for your business now offer online deals and incentives in addition to in-store promotions. Credit card companies will gift users with rewards or cash back for shopping with their business affiliates. Check with your favorite retailers online to see if they have a loyalty program. Sign up for email notifications—many retailers send you coupons and keep you up-to-date on sales – and read up on those special offers your credit card company provides when you shop online.

The Cons of Shopping Online

Not being able to try products first

Is this scent overpowering? Does this color perfectly match the walls of my room? Will this dress fit in all the right places? You won’t really know until you open the package, and you can’t guarantee 100% you’ll be satisfied with your purchase when it’s finally in your hands. Check to see if the item you’re looking can be found locally if you want to try it out or try it on. Some retailers can also provide you with free samples in the mail upon request. Keeping in mind of course …

Returns can be a hassle

Hope you read the fine print. Some retailers have strict policies regarding returns, if at all. While items like books and groceries may not need to be exchanged, items that require preciseness in measurements are more likely to have to be switched out. Therefore, always investigate the return policy when buying specialty items like fitted undergarments and footwear or custom orthotics.

Because if you’re not too careful …

You run the risk of overspending

From auction websites with competitive shoppers to the low, low offers so good you can’t refuse, online shopping can take a toll on your wallet. Feeling vulnerable? Seeking a little retail therapy? The impulse buy of today could be the hardly-used item at the back of the closet you can’t seem to get rid of. Do you really need the 2-for-1 special or will you regret it later? Know your limits. Make your budget and stick to it before you click.

The beauty of online shopping is that it allows you to shop in your free time and while on the go, and offers many opportunities to save which might not have been promoted in-store.  However, smart shopping will require a bit of research on the product itself as well as the retailer. Trust retailers like shopping channel Canada online.  If you do your homework and spend the time browsing competitors, coupons and sales, online shopping is an incredible advantage, saving you both time and money.

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