Ask a few people what’s their favorite stress reliever, and there’s a good chance the answer is “shopping.” You cannot blame them; even experts say a little retail therapy is actually good for our health. Thanks to online store pioneers Amazon and Ebay, we can now shop for items at the comfort of our own homes. Unfortunately, convenience also has some downsides. To help you decide whether Internet shopping is for you or not, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of buying online below.
1. It's Convenient. For those who do not have the time and patience to brave the traffic and stand in long lines, online shopping is an answered prayer. By just logging on to your computer and searching on Google, you open yourself to a wide array of choices. Some stores even have mobile apps, enabling you to shop while on the go. All you have to do is to select the item you need, pay (online or at bank counters), and wait for it to be delivered.
2. Selecting from a wide variety of items is easier. Unlike malls and other retails shops, online stores organize their products in several systematic ways—by size, color, price, style, and brand, among others. This allows consumers to easily look for and select products that suit their needs and requirements. Aside from that, most online shops advertise their latest releases, giving you the chance to get first dibs on that stylish dress before anyone else does.
3. You get to experiment. At online stores, you can find everything from quirky outfits to hard-to-find products. Furthermore, they normally carry items in very limited quantities. Because of this, you not only get access to rare finds, but you also get the opportunity to experiment with your style. Fashion is an ever-evolving way of expressing your personality and retail shops enable you to do just that, without worrying whether someone else has the same outfit as yours.
4. Sending gifts to loved ones is easy. Gone are the days when you have to stress over how to send gifts to a faraway loved one. By simply ordering online, you can give your family presents without spending so much money on shipping. Many online stores offer a “send as gift” feature where you can request to have your purchase gift-wrapped and sent to the recipient’s location. Some of them even offer free or fixed shipping rates (if the store is local), regardless of the size of the package.
1. You can go over budget. Normally when we go to the mall, we only bring or withdraw from automated teller machines the amount of cash we want to spend. On the other hand, shopping online often requires you to link your bank account or credit card in order to pay for the item. Doing so can lead to overspending because you have direct access to your money. If you’re a person who lacks self-control and financial management skills, it’s probably best to avoid buying online.
2. Shipping can take days. Unlike shopping at malls, you cannot take the item the same day you bought it when you’re purchasing through the Internet. In some cases, items take as long as 5 days before they arrive at your doorstep, or weeks depending on your location. So if you’re in hurry, buying at an actual store is your safest bet. You will only be stuck in Manila traffic and queue up, but at least you won’t go empty-handed.
3. You can’t fit your clothes and check for damages. This is one of the main reasons why many people still prefer a physical shop than digital ones. While many online stores now have a sizing feature, many customers—believe it or not—are clueless about their RTW or shoe size, so this feature is not really helpful. We’ve also heard many horror stories from friends and in social media how they were duped into buying a seemingly beautiful dress, only to find out that the actual item is not as described or advertised. Some are too small or too large, or have missing details or components. If you’re unlucky, you might even get a damaged item.
4. Returning can be a hassle. Fortunately, most online boutiques have a return policy in place for damaged or “not as described” items. The only drawback is, you have to handle the return shipping costs, which can be quite expensive especially when you live in a distant area. There is scarcely any store that provides free shipping. If there are, you’d have to wait a long time for them to process your complaint. If they deem it valid, you either get your money back, a replacement, or a store credit—which brings you all the way back to square one.
With the continuous technological advancements, more and more online stores will be popping up each day. Some can be legit, while others are only out to steal your money. The key to ensuring a fun and hassle-free online shopping experience is to stay vigilant. Before buying, research about the store, read reviews, and take time to understand their policies. This will not only prevent you from spending your hard-earned money on frivolous things, but it will also save you from wasting your precious time.