4 Pros and Cons of Online Shopping

Dec 17, 2021 3:51:36 PM

With the holidays around the corner and so much of our lives taking place online, the convenience of online shopping has never been more welcome. But, before you hit those virtual stores, consider these four pros and cons of online shopping.

Pro: Convenience…hello delivery!

Shopping online means you don’t have to wait in long lines, lug heavy purchases out to your car, or find a parking spot in a busy lot. There’s no crowds and no hassle.

Con: Return costs

If you don’t end up liking a purchase you made online, you’ll likely be on the hook for the return shipping fees. Even if a company offers free returns, be sure to read the fine print on that company’s return policies. Shipping charges can add up fast, especially if you purchase something heavy.

Pro: Reviews

When you shop online, you can view a lot more information about both a product and a company than you would likely get in person. Best of all, you often have access to tons of customer reviews telling you exactly what people who have actually seen the product in person thought about their purchase. Look for reviewers who seem to be giving their honest opinions rather than writing reviews in exchange for discounts and perks.

Con: Not knowing what you’re getting

Even when you do all your research, there are still those times when an online purchase shows up at your door and isn’t what you’re expecting. Maybe it doesn’t fit right or requires more assembly than you realized. Even with online reviews, not seeing something in person before making a purchase means that you’re risking not having all the information you might need before spending your money.

Pro: Comparison Shopping

Online retailers are not restricted by shelving space, so you have access to way more inventory when you shop online. You also have the ability to compare products from multiple different retailers without ever stepping foot outside of your home. You can find the best price for what you’re looking for all while saving the gas money a trip to the store might have cost you!

Con: Wait times

Delivery, while convenient, can also be unpredictable. Unforeseen circumstances like weather issues or backordered products could delay the arrival of your purchase. Plus, there’s the added cost of shipping (which often isn’t refunded if you decide to return an item). With lots of products in short supply recently, you could end up waiting months for that new sofa.

Pro: Discounts

Don’t be fooled: online shopping comes with its fair share of expenses, like shipping costs (as mentioned above) or minimums that you have to meet to avoid those shipping fees. There’s also the potential for service fees or extra taxes. However, online shopping also gives you access to a lot of discount codes and special, online-only sales. Sometimes a retailer will even reserve some products exclusively for their online store. Browser extensions like Honey can help you make sure you’re making the most of discount codes at checkout.

Con: Risk of scams

Like with anything you do on the internet, it’s important to be conscious of keeping your information safe. If you need to log in to your financial accounts or share information like a credit card number, make sure you do so on a secure network. Try to pay for purchases with a credit card where possible as it’s easier to report fraud later. Always make sure to do your research on a retailer before making a purchase, and beware of prices or products that seem too good to be true.

Tags: Cybersecurity, Money Tips