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Saturday, 14 December 2013

Comparing Online and Physical Shopping

Shopping Overview
Most females love shopping, don't we? Not sure about you, but I sure do - whether be it to accumulate new things, retail therapy, to reward myself or simply to buy a need.

In the past, "shopping" meant heading out to the shopping malls or supermarkets, running up and down the various floors or aisles, physically tossing items into our baskets or carts, and paying at the cashiers'.

These days, however, everything goes virtual. We could shop in the comfort of our homes or offices, or even on the go, via online platforms. Key in the url of the shopping site, browse merchandise or goods on the screens, select, toss into virtual cart, checkout and make payment via credit / debit cards. Done deal. We could even select delivery or self-collection as and when it conveniences us.

Let us look at the differences and compare between the two modes of shopping here.

The Pros and Cons of Physical Shopping
1. First off, the fun part about physical shopping is that we are able to get out there. We can catch up or
    bond with friends, siblings, colleagues etc through shopping together and exchanging opinions. We can
    feel, smell, see, taste and hear the malls. Yes, I love to connect with the malls in sensory terms, very much.

2. Many of us need to be able to touch and try out the merchandise we purchase - for instance, bags,
    accessories, jewelry, shoes and materials etc. For clothes, especially, it is vital to be able to feel the
    fabrics, try it on for fit and flattering factors, and ensure there are new pieces before making payment.

3. Enjoying being served - when we shop in malls or boutiques, we get to enjoy the services of the
    friendly and knowledgeable sales assistants, some of whom may even be able to offer useful advice.

4. Safer methods of trade - no need to be afraid of scams, of credit card details before intercepted via odd
    websites, fear of goods not arriving by mail or refund policies.

1. Firstly, it takes time and energy to physically pop by a mall or shop just to find or get something. When we
    have no time, it becomes pressurizing and we need to shop at top speed to find something i.e. a gift item
    or a gown. Even for a shopaholic like myself, sometimes the notion of hitting the malls to hunt for
    something during busy-schedule week, sounds like a chore.

2. We need to physically (and labouriously) carry our shopping bags. It may be fun being able to buy ten
    things from ten different stores, especially during sale season; however, lugging the shopping bags from
    one mall to the other can get rather exhausting. Even if I drive, I cannot be running to the parking lot
    after every purchase.

The Pros and Cons of Online Shopping
1. Ease of being able to shop from the comfort of one's home or office, or even on the go - this saves time
    efforts and energy of having to run to the malls literally.

2. We need not lug bags of purchases all around town, bogged down by the weight eventually. The
    merchandise can be delivered to our doorstep. I have even ordered Bird's Nest and Chicken Essence to
    be delivered to clients' homes wben they fell sick - when I did not have time to visit them during peak

3. Economical benefits - i.e. cheaper, especially during sprees or buying second-hand items from online
    auction sites.

4. Connectivity makes it easier to find almost anything online - stuff that may not be easily located locally,
    or cost a bomb locally. I have bought aromatherapy oils and exotic books from overseas online stores-
    stuffs I wouldnt have been able to find in shops locally otherwise.

1. Missing out on the fun of shopping together with people, trying on clothes together, having opinions or
    bonding through shopping trips.

2. Sometimes some delivery gets delayed or worse, lost in the mail. This can be rather frustrating, especially
    if one needs the ordered items on urgent or timely basis.

3. Online scams - sometimes we do  not know if a product we purchase online is safe or authentic at all.

4. Not being to try on, or feel a piece of clothing physically or trying shoes physically, may prove
    cumbersome later if the materials, sizes or colors do not fit or match photographs shown online. I hear
    these complaints rather commonly. Refunds or exchanges are troublesome.

5. Not being to enjoy the friendly and expertise of the sales assistants, who may come in handy especially
    when we are looking for something specific or are shopping alone.

6. Too many people switching to online shopping, affects businesses of physical stores that do not have
   their own online store platforms. Businesses suffer, and as a result may have to shut down.

Shopping is fun either way, and to me, both platforms have their plus and minus points for sure. Sometimes the choice between buying something online or physically, also depends on a lot of factors, such as time frame, budget, item specifics, availability, faith, suitability and past experiences.

If given a choice, I would still choose physical shopping over virtual shopping - because there is nothing more fun than being able to browse the malls display literally, handpick them and touching the materials to ascertain they're exactly what I am looking for.

Then, as and when I am tired, I can always recharge and take the opportunity to enjoy a nice afternoon tea before continuing with my shopping quests. Of course, I may end up spending more time, energy, efforts and money, but the overall experience is well-worth it. I find "no-kick" from online sprees or virtual shopping.

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