Shopping online has quite a few benefits, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when in-person shopping is either limited or nearly impossible.
Purchasing plane tickets, groceries, household necessities, or office supplies has never been more convenient than it is right now.
Online stores can also be quite competitive with prices and products, providing shoppers with a wealth of options that brick-and-mortars may not have.
But it can feel overwhelming to compare prices, reviews, and products without having the ability to physically see the item.
Before you begin shopping online for your next purchase, no matter how big or small, take into consideration the advantages and disadvantages of online shopping compared to traditional shopping.
Advantages of Online Shopping
Aside from being able to shop from the comfort of your home, or anywhere for that matter, there are many advantages of shopping online.
Some of these advantages include avoiding parking hassles, long lines, and dodging crowds during the holiday season.
Additional benefits of online shopping include:
- Ability to shop at any time, day or night
- No long lines at checkout
- Packages delivered to your doorstep, without leaving the house
- Reading reviews and comparing products prior to making a purchase
- Given the opportunity to purchase refurbished, or like-new items
- Convenience of shopping through an app with saved personal information, making checkout quicker
- Receive discount and sale notifications that notifies you when it’s the best time to shop
- No-pressure sales. You can decide at any time to abandon your cart instead of completing the transaction
- Potential to receive product reminder emails if you have abandoned your cart or saved an item for later. And sometimes, these reminder emails contain an offer or discount code
Disadvantages of Shopping Online
Sometimes, a deal is too good to be true or falls short of the website’s description.
It can be hard to receive satisfactory customer service online if the company uses chatbot robots or makes it difficult to reach a person over the phone.
Other disadvantages of shopping online include:
- Not being able to closely examine the product before purchase to determine if it’s the right size, fabric, or quality that you’re searching for
- Discovering an item is on backorder after it has been purchased, which can be quite problematic while shopping for gifts
- Paying restocking fees or other costs associated with shipping an item back to the seller
- Waiting for delivery, which can be delayed due to weather conditions and other unforeseen issues
- Depending on the item, location, and business you might spend as much or more on shipping costs than the item
- Not being able to reach a customer service representative if a question or issue arises
- Most companies don’t offer a “try before you buy” policy. Unless you know your measurements, it could lead to a bad experienced
Ways to Shop Online Securely & Safely
If you saw an ad online and it feels too good to be true, it more than likely is.
Shopping smart can prevent you from becoming a victim of credit card fraud.
Before making a purchase, shoppers are encouraged to take notice of the URL. Secure websites will have a URL that begins with https (hypertext transfer protocol secure) as opposed to http.
Websites with https can mask shared data, such as passwords and financial information through Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology.
This is just one of the ways you can protect your valuable information while online.
Online shoppers need to be aware of privacy and security precautions while shopping online because personal information — like payment information or bank details — can be stolen.
To shop online safely and protect your personal information, familiarize yourself with the company’s security measures and their policies.
Reading the customer service policies and reviews, whether it’s for a brick-and-mortar store or online establishment, could provide you with everything you need to know about shopping with them.
If policies seem vague, or the website doesn’t take the proper security measures, it’s best to shop elsewhere.
But, in the event that something does happen to your credit or debit card information while shopping, the financial team at Hudson River Community Credit Union can help.
Contact us today to learn how we can help keep your information safe and help you if something should happen.