Online Shopping vs. In-Store: Which Is Better?

Couple Shopping In-Store and Online

Shopping is a necessary part of our lives. We all need things like clothing, food, and commodities that make life possible. Thanks to modern technology, though, you now have options: you can go in-store to make purchases, or you can hop on your computer and do some online shopping.

Is one method better than the other? Let’s find out!

Online Shopping

Online shopping is a form of commerce that occurs electronically. When you shop online, you purchase goods or services from an online seller through the internet or a mobile app. Then, the retailer prepares and ships the items to you. Your purchase then arrives at your doorstep or in your mailbox a few days or weeks later.

Online Shopping With Credit Card
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Some people love online shopping because they can make purchases from the comfort of their homes. Others dislike it because of the limitations it poses. It depends on what you’re shopping for and several other factors.

Pros of Online Shopping

  • Convenience
  • Ability to compare prices
  • More choices and options
  • Greater quantities available
  • Extended sizes available
  • Easy access to brand information and product reviews
  • No pressure from sales associates
  • More payment options are available
Online Shopping App
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Cons of Online Shopping

  • Wait time for shipping
  • Unable to try clothes on
  • Cannot ask sales associate questions
  • Shipping costs
  • Privacy and security risks with online checkout

In-Store Shopping

In-store shopping is a term that refers to any experience where you browse or purchase items in a brick-and-mortar store. These brick-and-motor stores can be large department stores, smaller boutique retailers, or even outlet stores. With in-store shopping, you enter a store, locate what you want, and take it to a checkout counter to pay for the item. Once you go through the checkout process, you are free to take the item home.

In Person Shopping Shirt
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Usually, people shop in-store for items they need immediately or would like to test them out before they buy. However, some say in-store shopping limits your options and takes more time to find what you want. Like online shopping, in-store shopping comes with its pros and cons.

Pros of Shopping In-Store

  • Ability to try items on or test them
  • Easier to inspect product quality
  • Can have items same-day
  • In-store only sales or discounts
  • Paper receipt makes for easy returns or exchanges
Looking At Price Of Coat In Store
Image source: Pexels

Cons of Shopping In-Store

  • Limited availability in stock
  • May not have the correct sizes
  • Hard to know if products have good reviews
  • Can’t easily price compare
  • Long lines to checkout
  • Fewer payment options available

Online Shopping vs. In-Store: Which Is Better?

Everyone has their own thoughts on whether online shopping or in-store is better. However, the reality is that it isn’t a black-and-white situation. There are pros and cons to both methods, which means its ultimately up to you which method makes the most sense.

Online shopping is convenient and yields far more options for customers looking for variety. However, the wait time sometimes means people must go shopping in-store instead. If you are unsure which option is better for you, check these final recommendations.

Use Online Shopping If…

  • Your free time to get out is limited
  • You don’t need items immediately
  • You trust the brand
  • You need extended sizes

Pick In-Store Shopping If…

  • You need to try things on
  • You aren’t sure what you want to buy
  • You’re trying to shop with other people
  • You can’t wait for delivery times

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the safest way to shop online?

Online shopping comes with some risks. However, you can avoid these risks by always checking that you have a secure connection, buying from reputable brands, and using a VPN to protect your data.

Where is the best place to shop online?

There are thousands of online retailers to choose from. Although there isn’t a single store that is “better” than the rest, you can look for sites with high ratings that offer quick shipping times and have many payment options.

Image credit: Pexels

Megan Glosson

Megan Glosson is a passionate writer based in Nashville, TN. She enjoys writing about topics related to health, wellness, and everyday life, especially when the topic has a personal connection to her own life. Megan is currently published on over a dozen websites, including YourTango, Feel & Thrive,, and The Mighty. Megan also serves as a content editor for Unwritten, a digital publication focused on millennial lifestyles.