Smart & Connected Life Working From Home 225 225 people found this article helpful 15 Pros and Cons of Shopping Online Find great deals online, but be safe about it by Stacy Fisher Stacy Fisher is the former freebies writer for The Balance. She has over 18 years experience in teaching and writing about personal finance. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Stacy Fisher Updated on March 19, 2020 The Ultimate Guide to Shopping Online The Ultimate Guide to Shopping Online Introduction Online Shopping Basics Pros and Cons of Shopping Online Tips for Safe Online Shopping Best Online Shopping Websites Best Sites for Online Grocery Shopping Ordering Food Online 7 On-Demand Delivery Service Apps How Does Grubhub Work? Using Walmart's Grocery App How to Use Google Delivery to Order In From Local Restaurants How Does Uber Eats Work? How Does Doordash Work? What Is Postmates? How Does Instacart Work? How Does Shipt Work? Best Ways to Save Money Online Best Grocery Store Price Comparison Apps How to Get Free Shipping What Is Wikibuy & How Does It Work? What Is the 'Honey App'? Best Coupon Websites Best Online Auction Websites What is the Wish App? Using the Amazon Prime Whole Foods Discount What's Amazon Subscribe and Save? Easy Shopping Options Best Rewards and Cash-Back Shopping Sites Best Mobile Shopping Apps Top Social Shopping Websites You Need to Check Out Cancel Services You Don't Need How to Cancel Your Shipt Membership How to Cancel Amazon Fresh Cancel Instacart Orders, Memberships & Free Trials Tweet Share Email There are tons of online shopping sites where you can buy everything from plane tickets and flat-screen TVs to food, clothes, furniture, office supplies, movies, and lots more. While shopping online is convenient and fun, there are disadvantages of online shopping. Know the cons of online shopping to realize the benefits of shopping at a traditional store. 9 of the Weirdest Things You Can Buy Only on the Internet MOAimage/Moment/Getty Images The Pros of Shopping Online There are distinct advantages of online shopping: Time Convenience In comparison to a brick-and-mortar store with fixed hours, online shopping venues are available any time, day or night. This is especially useful for parents with small children, anyone who works throughout the day, and during times of inclement weather. Shopping Apps Shopping from an app is a convenient luxury. Whether you're homebound or able to visit a store, shopping from your phone is a uniquely awesome experience. Price Comparisons When you visit a store, you most likely settle for whatever price the vendor has placed on a particular item. With online shopping, you can compare prices from hundreds of different vendors. Grocery store price comparison apps are one example. Discounts and Notifications Online stores want to keep you as a customer, so they may offer deep discounts, rewards, and cash back if you sign up for their newsletters. This can keep you updated on all the best upcoming sales. Coupon codes—like the ones you can get from coupon code sites—are also extremely popular when shopping online. Infinite Choice Shelf space in a physical store is limited, which means the variety of goods is limited. This isn't true with online stores where choices are abundant. If you don't see what you want at one store online, move on to the next one. As the consumer, you have the power to do that. No Size Limitation Another benefit to online shopping is when the product you want to buy is too big to haul in your vehicle. Buying a boat from an auction site or ordering a tiny home online are just two examples of situations where your car just won't do the job. Zero Parking Struggles Finding a parking spot can be a big reason you don't stop at a store. Especially around the holidays, there's a major benefit of no congestion when shopping online. Easy Access to Consumer Reviews It's easy to access consumer reviews for pretty much any product you can think of online, which makes for informed purchases. If you're not sure you're up to buying something, conduct a little research by checking out customer reviews. No Pressure Sales If you don't want to experience awkward approaches by eager salespeople, you don't have to put up with that online. More Payment Methods Another benefit of online shopping is that you can pay for things differently than you can at a physical store. There are lots of retailers that support Bitcoin, for example. The Cons of Shopping Online Here are a few disadvantages of internet shopping that might deter you from making your next purchase online: You Can't Try Things On When you buy clothes online, you can't feel the material, see how it fits around your waist, or notice how it's made. Unless you know your measurements and are familiar with the brand of clothing offered, this could be a bad experience. Most online stores make it easy to return items for this reason. Clothing websites usually post detailed measurement and fabric information to minimize returns. You Can't Always Talk to Someone Immediately If you have a question about what you're about to order, or what you just ordered but want to return, you may have to wait a full day or longer to get your question answered. This situation is improving, however, as many sites have added an instant chat service to address concerns and answer questions on the spot. Must Wait for Delivery Need something no later than this afternoon? Not many online shopping sites have same-day delivery, and none of them offer the on-the-spot, take-home advantage that a physical store does. Some online shopping sites take weeks to deliver your order (though, they're in the minority). Shipping Costs Depending on what you buy, you could spend the same amount on just shipping costs, or sometimes even more. In-store shopping has no need to charge extra for shipping. Privacy and Security Privacy and security are legitimate concerns for any online shopper. Your payment information could get stolen from the site or someone who works there could copy your bank details and use them later on their own purchases. It's also hard to immediately recognize whether an online store is real or just there to scam you. There are precautions you can take when shopping online to make the experience more secure. Paying attention to whether or not the site uses HTTPS is one example, as is learning how to identify email scams. Learn the top tips for shopping safely online for more advice.