In this day and age, most things can be done on a phone, laptop, or device of some sort. This includes shopping – whether it’s for clothes, books, groceries and so on.
Nowadays, there’s hardly anything that you can get in a store that isn’t available online, and this new platform offers a whole new means to buy and sell second hand goods as well.
However, does that mean there’s no longer any merit to the possibly dying art of shopping in-person?
Clothes Shopping: Fashion Forward or Faulty Fitting?
Most of us have at one point or another fallen into the trap of spending hours browsing category after category, item after item. It seems like a harmless exercise (I mean you can send back anything that looks bad right?), but what are the true pros and cons of browsing the web instead of the aisles?
- Direct & Easy Product Comparison: The ability to look at an item on one site, then click over and see if there’s something nicer (or less expensive!) somewhere else.
- Skip The Line, Skip The Fuss: Not having to line up, deal with anyone or carry a bunch of bags around.
- Economical: Quite often the prices of clothes online are better, and you can do a quick search to see if you’re getting the best bargain out there.
- Physically Inspecting Clothes: Photographs don’t always accurately represent how they look and/or feel.
- Dicey Return Policies: Hassle of packaging and sending clothes back aside, certain shops find reasons not to return expenses. Often times we end up with clothes that don’t fit properly or we simply don’t like that much.
- You Pay For Your Convenience: Although it’s great having something delivered right to your doorstep, evaluate whether the extra cost is worth it. Or if the minimum amount you have to buy to get free shipping is over spending for your budget.
Food Shopping: Fabulous Or Less Than Fresh?
Online groceries have become one of the most common ways households are time-saving – especially in scenarios where both parents are working, and getting the food shopping done is difficult. It’s budget-friendly as you can meal plan and select exactly what you like, without any impulse buys. This generally leads to staying healthier, shopping on your own schedule and knowing exactly what’s in your fridge and pantry.
It seems pretty perfect, but is there an ugly side of online grocery shopping?
- Not picking your own produce: For some this genuinely wouldn’t matter. However, others want to make sure they are getting the freshest vegetables, or fruits at a particular stage of ripeness.
- Missing out on in-store sales: Certain slash-downs and deals are only apparent when shopping between the aisles, not between the URLs.
Groceries aside, many of us spend weekend nights utilising apps of extreme convenience such as Uber Eats. There is also the option to have fresh selected ingredients delivered through services such as HelloFresh if you feel like doing the cooking but not the prep.
Second Hand Sales: Savvy Selections Or Suspicious Sellers?
With the rise of the Internet has come a great number of different platforms on which people can sell their clothes, shoes, furniture and a great number of other items. Examples include Facebook Marketplace, Depop and numerous other sites. Is this a great way to buy things second hand and save money, or to fall prey to low quality sales by un-reputable sellers?
- Tons Of Options, For A Lower Cost: Being able to target your search to be very selective, as it is likely that exact item has been pre-owned by someone.
- Sometimes No Delivery Fee: If you live in the same area, you could go and pick something up. Either way, the postage fee is likely to be less than the average online shopping delivery fee.
- You Don’t Know Exactly What You’re Getting: Relying on people to describe the quality of the item accurately. Make sure you get sufficient pictures or, ideally, see the item in person before paying.
- Risk Of Fraud: Within the online world, there’s always a larger risk of credit card scams, identify theft or a product being faulty. Either exchange the money and items in person or demand proof of it being sent to your address.
Now that you know the pros and cons, you can choose what’s ideal for you! Will you be clicking on to your next tab to do some heavy browsing, or heading to a shopping center near you for some retail therapy? Despite heading towards a world where most things will soon be purely online-based, for most of us, it will continue to be a combination of the two mediums for the foreseeable future.