Online shopping vs. Traditional Shopping

Shopping is an exciting part of American culture, whether you participate or not. With a boost from cyberspace, a person can buy just about anything without leaving the couch. Both types of transactions coexist with one another, yet window-shopping is a distinctly different experience from Internet shopping. Shopping is no longer as simple as it used to be, especially if you’re picky. Whether it’s web-based or face-to-face browsing, there are some benefits and downfalls to both methods that differentiate the two, even though they each accomplish a common goal.

When shopping traditionally there is a limitation to some extent, whether it’s a variety of size, color, brand, or availability. Shopping at the store can be convenient, yet frustrating.

Finding what you need takes patience and sometimes a little help. Also, depending on the demand, a store may not always have a product in stock. Even more irritating is finding what you need, just not the right size. Each of these situations makes online shopping the more appealing option.

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When shopping on the Internet, there are endless options and variety to choose from. Online customers can search for any product; browse by category, color, size, brand, etc.; or just take a peek at everything in a matter of minutes.

Another appealing factor to Internet shopping is the availability to choose from additional colors, styles, or sizes because of the mass compiling of inventory. Additionally, a benefit from buying from huge online retailers is that pricing may be more competitive because it is coming from the direct or discount supplier, which minimizes the middlemen.

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Lastly, and most obviously, customers shopping over the web have no geographic limits. A person can enjoy any good around the world without having to go the distance to retrieve it, which makes Internet shopping so unique.

Despite the fascination with online shopping, there is only so much an Internet connection and domain can do for you. Browsing a website’s product listing is in no way comparable to being able to physically touch, see, smell, or feel a product when making a purchase. Looks can be deceiving, as well as luring descriptions.

No matter what angle its viewed from, pictures only provide a two-dimensional detail of a product in the most attractive lighting, with the happiest people enjoying it, or the best looking person modeling it. Making a decision based on these intentionally placed marketing methods can alter a consumer’s perception of the true quality of a product, more than likely resulting in dissatisfaction.

What makes traditional shopping more appealing in this aspect is that a consumer is more than likely aware of what their buying into, rather than blindly buying into a false belief. A person is capable of fully experiencing the true quality of a product without a bias on it’s presentation. By witnessing a product in material form, consumers are given the opportunity to make a judgment without having to dodge marketing obstacles. A person’s five senses assist in getting to the bottom of the misunderstanding created by deceptive showcasing techniques and assure the best decision.

Likewise, when deals in cyberspace seem too good to be true, they usually are. A person’s susceptibility to scam is increased when shopping on the Internet. The occurrence of personal information theft, such as credit cards, is alarmingly high. When shopping traditionally, a person is not faced with as high of chances of this happening.

Due to the existence of many untrusted or sketchy websites, a person may not want to be so quick to hand over method of payment. Also, even if a website is trusted, there is always room for error, especially when a computer is the main coordinator of the order processing. The possibility of receiving the incorrect item from the supplier is a risk that is taken each time a person resorts to Internet shopping.

Making Internet order returns are an even trickier task, whereas returning an item to a traditional store is just as simple as the way you bought it. Internet merchandise returns can take several weeks to process and refunds can come in exchanges, full refunds, or store credit, adding to the inconvenient complications.

Nevertheless, nobody usually enjoys spending long hours at the store, making a trip to a mall out of town, or doing anything generally shopping related. Traditional shopping can take a lot of energy and effort, inflict stress, and lead to impulse purchases. All of these results are undesirable and easily avoided through Internet shopping.

With a computer or smartphone, a person has access to millions of online stores as well as websites to favorite traditional stores. All of these options are available from the comfort of any home (with internet of course.) You can shop on your own time rather than the hours of operation of a traditional store. Heck, you can even shop naked if you desire.

Not only can using this alternative make shopping convenient and easy, shipping of products is extremely affordable and sometimes free. Money and time usually spent on transportation and food when shopping formally can be saved, on top of the savings one can find online. Finding deals on the web is just as easy, if not easier, than traditional shopping. Also, buying gifts and other personal items can be done in privacy/secrecy when necessary.

In conclusion, both methods of shopping are full of differences and similarities that make them unique in some approach. Traditional shopping allows for inclusion of the five senses, quick and safe transactions, and a more formal experience that includes the customer; whereas Internet shopping is convenient and easy, provides increased option, and helps to save money. Due to the variation in execution, both methods have an appropriate time and place to occur, yet in the end, internet shopping and formal shopping are interchangeable, despite the discrepancies.

Updated: Jul 06, 2022
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Online shopping vs. Traditional Shopping. (2016, May 10). Retrieved from

Online shopping vs. Traditional Shopping essay
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