Innovation and creativity have revolutionized business trends worldwide. Information and communication technologies have had considerable influence on the modern society, changing how as well as where people work, shop and other ways of our lives. It is not a surprise to see many people choosing online shopping as compared to traditional shopping. They are both convenient ways of shopping, essential to the human life. There exist some fundamental differences and similarities between online and traditional shopping. The aim of this work is to compare and contrast online with traditional shopping.
Traditional shopping takes place when an individual prefers in-store shopping characterized by the individual visiting the shop physically. A person then has the freedom of choosing what to buy from his or her real feelings as all the senses are in interaction with the goods. All the products can be seen, felt, tasted making the customer make an informed decision about what he or she wants for a product. By contrast, online shopping depends on the internet in describing their products for customers. Shopping websites such as the Amazon advertise the products to their potential customers without having the customers going out for them. Interested buyers have to place orders and then get shipments of the products. Unlike traditional shopping, the consumer in online shopping does not get the chance to taste or feel the products the first time they are buying the products (Horrigan, 2009).
Both types of shopping offer a great deal of variety to their customers. Almost any store you would come by in a mall will have a corresponding online store having similar items. Like the shopping malls, online stores also offer a large variety of items to choose from. In some cases, shopping in a mall could have similar interactive experience as shopping in an online store. Some websites have enhanced features, enabling the virtual customer to see the same product in different colors, size and even send the same link to a friend and get instant feedback. Like purchases made at a traditional store, products bought online can also be returned to the seller depending on the policy of the retailer (Weltevreden & Rietbergen, 2007).
Many people do prefer shopping online because of the convenience it offers to them. Not everyone likes spending time going from mall to mall looking for goods. Others are enticed by the low prices of online products and others just prefer buying things from different countries. Unlike traditional shopping experiences, most online shoppers report to having experiences that are more negative. Despite the increasing number of online shoppers, most internet users label online shopping as an exasperating, confusing and overwhelming activity. Moreover, the high number of abandoned online transactions speak volume of the rate at which they could become unpopular.
A recent study established uncertainty as one of the major inhibitors of online shopping. The buyers who preferred online shopping to traditional shopping incurred more risks. More online customers have had their privacy violated after their information gets to the internet than traditional buyers. Unlike traditional customers, online shoppers have had to contend with delays in the delivery of ordered items. Sometimes, the products are not delivered at all. In some other cases, online shoppers have had to cope with goods that are out of their specifications such as wrong sizes, weight, color, design, and sometimes even broken items (Horrigan, 2009).
Unlike the online shoppers, traditional customers get the chance to use all their senses in selecting merchandise that merit their needs and preferences. A customer in need of a particular dress would have the opportunity to try the dress out to see if it fits compared to the other person who shops online. Those shopping online have to trust just a picture when shopping. Some of the online sellers zoom the picture of the item, so the item could be smaller (Forsythe & Shi, 2003).
Getting the best price for a commodity can be a hard task. Some online shoppers believe that it is much cheaper than traditional shopping. This is not always true. Some online retailers would double the price of an item, especially when there are no places to compare those prices. Nonetheless, since an individual does not have to pay a physical visit to the mall, some expenses are cut, such as transportation and parking fees. It is time effective as moving from store to store is reduced. Also, one does not need to put on fancy clothes when going for shopping like in traditional shopping (Horrigan, 2009).
Again, online retailers are perceived to be more dishonesty than traditional retailers. People who are doing shopping online report more disappointments than their conventional counterparts. Online shopping is convenient to the people that do not have time to visit the malls (Weltevreden & Rietbergen, 2007).
In conclusion, as discussed above, there are merits as well as demerits involved in both online and traditional shopping. It is likely that those who are interested and enjoy shopping as a hobby may prefer to do it in person and those who do not find pleasure in shopping may be just as happy as to do it online.