Online Options: 6 Pros and Cons of Shopping Online

Photo: Thought Catalog / Unsplash

Online shopping is the preferred method of shopping for many people. In fact, the U.S. The Census Bureau reported an increase of more than $200 billion over the last decade. 

Shopping online is easier and more convenient than ever, thanks to advancements in technology and an increase in online retailers. Internet shoppers can find a vast array of products that most individual brick-and-mortar stores can’t provide. 

While online shopping offers many benefits, there are some pitfalls to be aware of as well. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of online shopping. 

1. Pro: Online Shopping is Convenient

Perhaps the biggest advantage of shopping online is its convenience. You don’t have to worry about waiting for a store to open, and most top eCommerce fulfillment companies ship packages within hours of order placement. Regardless of your schedule, you can do your shopping online any time of the day or night. 

2. Con: Online Shopping May Be More Expensive

Buying things online may cost you more money than if you shopped at a local brick-and-mortar store. This is because many online retailers offer free shipping, but only if you spend over a certain amount. If you don’t meet this requirement, you must pay shipping costs or purchase items you otherwise wouldn’t have gotten. 

Online retailers get you to spend more in other ways too. They may offer products in “limited-time” or “limited-quantity” deals. Online retailers rely heavily on impulse buying to entice sales and make more profits. 

3. Pro: Shopping Online Offers More Variety

Since online retailers aren’t limited to shelving space, they can offer a much wider selection than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. This gives you more variety in the products you buy, as well as more opportunity to comparison shop for the best products and pricing. 

4. Con: Online Shopping Increases Fraud Risk

Unfortunately, online shopping increases your risk of falling victim to fraud. Online scammers prey on unsuspecting shoppers, offering deals on fake websites or fake ads on real websites. 

It can be difficult to determine fake deals from real ones when shopping online, but if you follow a couple of helpful tips, you can limit your fraud risk. 

  • Only use credit cards (not debit cards) when shopping online. It’s much easier to report fraud and recoup losses with a credit card company;
  • If your financial institution offers digital cards, use these for online shopping as you can delete them and create new ones, ensuring your main credit card details are never at risk of being compromised; 
  • Avoid sellers who only accept cryptocurrency, money transfers, or gift cards, as these methods allow scammers to access your money faster. 

5. Pro: It’s Easier to Make Informed Decisions when Shopping Online

When shopping online, you have access to much more information about the seller and the products than you do in a brick-and-mortar store. Rather than talking to a store employee who may or may not know something about the products you’re buying, you can browse through product descriptions, reviews, and recommendations of similar products. 

6. Con: You Must Wait for Your Products to Arrive

When you shop online, you must wait for the item to arrive at your house. So if you’re in a pinch, shopping in a brick-and-mortar store is probably the better option. 

Online shopping has changed the way people obtain the products and services they need. As convenient as online shopping is, you must remember that there are downsides. Hopefully, the information above gives you a better understanding of what to expect as an online shopper.