The Pros and Cons of Online Shopping

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I’m sure many of my readers are already versed in online shopping, especially with the sweet deals and rising companies that have been seeping out of the ground the past 5 years.  With the birth of online shopping within the past 12 years (think Amazon, Zappos, Ice.com, Groupon, Living Social, RunDaisy, etc.), there have been more and more stores opening the floodgates on their end to satisfy customers like myself to the world of online shopping.

In my own little world, I normally wouldn’t give a time of day to asking someone the pros and cons of doing their shopping online.  To me, it’s pretty much a no-brainer, coming from one that is pretty much a power user on the web.  With the “recession” that happened in the past 2 years, I found myself questioning my shopping habits and really focusing in more clearly on the pros and cons of online shopping.

PROS

Easy and Comfortable

Online shopping is fairly easy, and to borrow Geico’s gimmick, “even a caveman can do it!”  Seriously, going to your favorite store, retailer, or mall is as easy as turning on your computer.  No more getting ready to go out to the mall to buy something when you can do it at the comfort of your own home.  Plus, you can multi-task like a bizzle, such as watching TV while you shop online 🙂

Simple as a click of a button

You find what you want from search engine results or from search queries from your favorite retailer, and buying your clothes is as simple as a click of a button.  BAM!  You’re done shopping!  For some of you, that may be translated to being done shopping on that store, and on to the next!

You get the drift, right?  Simple and easy.  Find.  Shop.  Click.  Feel Happy.

No hassle

You don’t have to be hassled by retail associates who want to up-sell and cross-sell you the world, or open a [insert store here] card so you can save 10% off.  Trust me, I’ve been on the other end of that, and I didn’t like it when I was in retail, and I don’t like it now as a customer.  When you do shop online, you will have less chances of getting hassled by those cats than by online customer service reps popping up to chat about your online experience.

CONS

Size matters

How many of you, dear readers, have bought something online only to find out that the size of the item(s) you bought doesn’t fit you? (I raise may hands many times!)  That’s because of lots of factors that come into play, primarily the brand name and store carrying the brand names.  If you don’t know your brand names very well, you wouldn’t know how they normally fit to your body.

For example, Puma runs a size smaller than Nike, and is definitely more fitting on the shoe tip, which makes ordering a bit more tricky when you have to buy a size larger than you may normally do.

The point is that it can make for a bad customer experience if you are not well versed or well researched in the types of clothes and labels you’re buying.

Return policies

As much as I would hate to say this, most retailers have whack return policies.  A better description would be that their return policies are so awful that you may just as well go to the store physically and buy it there.  That way, you wouldn’t have to worry about the size issue (see above).

Shipping and Return Issues

Shipping is also another whack factor on the online shopping tip.  Cats like Zappos are very good at the shipping department: they’ll offer flat fees and returnable items at no cost to you.  But there are others who need lessons from Zappos and their equals by making sure that the customer experience is handled well and justified by the product being sold.  No need to be buying from companies that will apply handling fees when you try to return your products; thus, they mark you off of what you fully paid for and only reimburse you for a portion of it.

If that’s the case, then you may just see yourself in the “size matters” category (see above).

Wrong orders

Mistakes are made, and we are only human, so I don’t get mad often about these types of things.  Frustrated?  Of course, but never to the point of P-O’d.  I’ve had wrong orders before, so it’s no biggie to me.  But it is just as frustrating and time consuming for the consumer who bought things with their hard-earned money only to get something that was totally unrelated to what they paid for.  Or worse: received a shipment from a retailer and not find any/some of the products that they have bought.

Conclusion

While there is really no WRONG or RIGHT on this subject, there are definite consequences that needs to be taken into consideration for those that are justifying the pros and cons of online shopping.  I have had my fair share of the cons, but I also know that there is a relief of purchasing products that I can do off the bat and not worry about taking too much time or effort into getting them.

What do you think about the pros and cons listed here?  Tell me some of your stories, and feel free to leave me comments and thoughts!

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