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Should You Buy Online?

It’s the digital age. We can’t avoid the internet in our daily lives. From paying bills, to booking flights, to conducting extensive research on a niche topic, we can ask the internet to simplify almost anything for us. It only makes sense, then, that we would use the internet for shopping. With Amazon at the forefront, more and more Americans are turning to the internet for their regular purchases. But is shopping online really saving you all those nickels and dimes? And how does shopping online affect our overall economy? Let’s take a closer look.

The pros

The online store is widely successful in today’s market. One reason? The traditional brick-and-mortar store is unable to supply the types of cost deals an ecommerce site can. With inventory moving much quicker off the “digital shelves,” and a wider customer reach in its back pocket, the online store has the ability to launch deals that change almost daily, roping in more customers as they go. The online retailer saves on operating expenses and is therefore able to offer a product to consumers at a margin of the cost of the traditional store.

Shopping online makes you a smarter customer. With the number of online retailers offering similar products, comparing merchandise on the internet is as easy as a few clicks. Spending five minutes researching jackets online will show you which brands are the leaders in the industry, which have the highest customer reviews, and even where you can find the best color options.

Because shopping online has proven to be cheaper in many cases, one of the biggest tools of online retailers is the brick-and-mortar store itself. “Showrooming” is when a customer visits a brick-and-mortar store to see a product in person before ultimately purchasing it online. Brick-and-mortar stores have taken a hard hit from showrooming, but it does give the online consumer the upper hand.

The cons

Shopping online comes with a variety of advantages, but at the end of the day, is it really worth it? The biggest upside to shopping at a brick-and-mortar store is being able to see a product in person. While showrooming allows consumers to benefit from this physical store advantage, many consumers are willing to risk purchasing a product online, even if they’re skeptical of the quality, simply because it’s more convenient than visiting a retail store.

One other downside to buying online is making returns. While most retailers with both an online presence and brick-and-mortar stores offer in-store returns, ecommerce brands must work with customers to make sure they are refunded properly.

Ultimately, shopping online for most Americans comes down to convenience. The internet has more inventory than any shopping mall in the world. Between the daily deals, and wide selection, shopping online is a must for many consumers. And in a world run by technology, it only makes sense that consumers would adapt to the changing retail landscape.