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The Pros and Cons of Online Shopping

6 benefits and drawbacks to keep in mind when you shop online, pros of online shopping, cons of online shopping, how to make the most of online shopping, money-saving tips for online shopping, frequently asked questions (faqs).

The Balance / Jiaqi Zhou

Online shopping is more popular today than ever before. A report from the U.S. Census Bureau found that in the first quarter of 2022, an estimated $250 billion was spent in retail e-commerce sales. In the second quarter of 2011, for comparison, retail e-commerce sales were $47.5 billion.

Due in part to new and growing technology, online shopping has become incredibly easy and convenient. It also offers a greater selection than one storefront, opening the doors to products and services that may not be available at a nearby brick-and-mortar store .

While online shopping comes with a number of benefits, there are drawbacks to know about, too. Let's dive deeper into the pros and cons of shopping online.

Key Takeaways


Greater selection

Easy access to information

Can be more expensive

Increases risk of fraud

Leads to longer wait times

Using your computer or another digital device for your shopping needs can be convenient, offer more options, and provide insight you might not find in person at a store.

The greatest benefit of online shopping is its convenience. Through the digital space, you can buy anything you want from the comfort of your own home. Since online stores are open 24/7 and accessible from anywhere with internet access, it's easy to fit online shopping into your life no matter how busy you are. You don't have to plan your purchases based on when a brick-and-mortar store is open and available to serve you.

Greater Selection

Because products online live within the digital space, online retailers are not restricted to shelves and often have more inventory on hand with a wider selection of products. Also, online shopping gives you the chance to buy anything from any retailer, no matter where you're located. If you're in the market for a new lamp, for example, you'll have more options available to you than you would if you only shopped at stores in your local area.

Easy Access to Information

When shopping online, you will often find more details about a business's products than you would get in physical stores. Instead of speaking to one or two sales associates in person, you can peruse product descriptions, recommendations of similar products, and reviews from other shoppers online that may help you make a more informed purchasing decision.

Online retailers also tend to have membership options, typically via email or newsletters, that give shoppers early access to sales, seasonal releases , and other events. This way, you can be one of the first to know of offerings from your favorite brands.

Shopping for items online can also have its pitfalls, including hidden price mark-ups, an increased risk of fraud, and the inability to use or wear the item you purchased right away.

Can Be More Expensive

Online purchases can cost you more for several reasons. Even though many major online retailers offer free shipping, they generally require you to meet a minimum to qualify for it. In addition, online retailers may use several strategies to encourage you to buy more items or more expensive items than if you were shopping in person.

Depending on the state you live in, you may be required to pay an internet sales tax , too. In Texas, for example, you may have to pay a tax on out-of-state purchases delivered into Texas or purchases made from online-only sellers.

Many online retailers take part in digital tactics to convince shoppers to make more purchases, often considered impulse buys . Some include using "limited time" sale pop-ups that reset every time users reload the page, fake customer testimonials, or messages that promote higher-cost items.

Increases Risk of Fraud

Unfortunately, online shopping scams do exist. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), online shopping was the fourth most common fraud category for consumers as of February 2022. Some scammers pretend to be legitimate online sellers with fake websites or create fake ads on real sites.

Always pay by credit card rather than a debit card, as you can easily report fraud to your credit card company. Also, it is best to avoid online sellers that only accept payment via money transfers, gift cards, or cryptocurrency. Scammers may encourage you to pay through these methods so they can access your money faster.

Leads to Longer Wait Times

When you shop at a brick-and-mortar store, you can walk away with the product you bought and use or wear it right away. Online shopping forces you to wait days, weeks, or even longer for your order to arrive. If you're in a time crunch and need a product right away, such as a gift, going to an in-person shop may be a better option for you.

These tips can allow you to enhance your online shopping experience.

Know Which Products To Buy Online

Some items are better to buy online than others because you can find countless consumer reviews, discounts, or other deals pertaining to them. For items you regularly use (such as a laptop, phone charger, luggage, or textbook), the internet may be the best place to compare offers. For things you require to have long-lasting value (like a car) or must get right away (such as groceries), shopping in person may be best.

Read Reviews

Before you check out, read reviews on the retailer's website as well as third-party sites like Google and Facebook. This can help you find out if the retailer is legitimate and whether there may be any potential issues with the product you're about to invest in. Reviews are beneficial for small businesses , too. Ninety-eight percent of consumers read online reviews of local businesses, according to marketing consultancy BrightLocal's 2022 Local Consumer Review Survey.

Some companies have more nuanced review options than others. Clothing rental service Nuuly, for example, lets its customers add photos of themselves wearing products with written reviews, enabling future customers to make empowered, smart purchasing decisions.

Examine Product Details

If you’re interested in a product, read its description. Make sure you know what it’s made out of, whether it comes with a warranty, what sizes are available, and so on. By doing so, you can avoid unwanted surprises that cost you time, money, and headaches when the product arrives.

There are many ways to save some money while making online purchases. Consider these tips to improve your online shopping experience.

Comparison Shop

If you have a specific product in mind, it's in your best interest to comparison shop, similar to how you would when looking for life insurance. Look at various online stores that offer what you want. Then, compare prices so you can find the best deal.

As you comparison shop, read product descriptions very closely. The FTC recommends looking out for words like "refurbished" or "vintage," as this could mean a product will arrive at your door in less-than-perfect condition.

Follow Online Retailers on Social Media

Online retailers often promote their sales and discounted items on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media channels. If you follow some of your favorite companies on social media, you may be one of the first to see and purchase the latest offers.

Use Money-Saving Apps or Plug-ins

There is no shortage of apps or plug-ins that can allow you to save money online without the hassle. Some examples are Honey, Swagbucks, Capital One Shopping, and Rakuten. You can also look for coupon codes online on sites like RetailMeNot.com and Coupons.com.

How do you get your money back from an online purchase?

This process varies by retailer. Some may automatically refund your money when you report a problem with your purchase; others may require you to return the product first. You may not be able to get your money back at all, especially if it's after the retailer's return window. If you're buying something that may not work for you, like clothing, check the retailer's refund policy before you buy.

How has the internet changed shopping?

The internet has completely changed the shopping experience. People have access to products from around the globe. Payments are instant, and recommendations are tailored to your shopping and browsing habits. Brick-and-mortar retailers have had to respond by launching websites and improving their in-person customer experience.

U.S. Census Bureau. " Quarterly Retail E-Commerce Sales 1st Quarter 2022 ," Page 1.

U.S. Census Bureau. " Quarterly Retail E-Commerce Sales 2nd Quarter 2011 ," Page 2.

Texas Comptroller's Office. " Taxes: Online Orders - Texas Purchasers and Sellers ."

University of Michigan. " Impulse Buying: Design Practices and Consumer Needs ," Pages 6, 9, and 11.

Federal Trade Commission. " Consumer Sentinel Network ," Page 7.

BrightLocal. " Local Consumer Review Survey 2022 ."

Nuuly. " Forget Me Not Mini Dress ."

Federal Trade Commission. " Online Shopping ," See "Comparison Shopping."

online shopping good or bad essay

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17 Pros and Cons of Shopping Online

Find great deals online, but be safe about it.

online shopping good or bad essay

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 some disadvantages. Know the cons to realize the benefits of shopping at a traditional store.

The Pros of Shopping Online

There are, of course, 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 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. When it's really busy, you might not even remember where you parked your car !

Home Delivery for the Disabled

Buying oversized items and not having to worry about parking are benefits everyone can take advantage of, but if you're physically disabled to the point that you can't drive or walk through a store, online shopping might be your only solution to ordering food, essential items, and other goods.

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 if 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. While you could consider pop-up ads a similar experience, they're a bit easier to suppress. Car auction websites are a great example of this.

Fewer Impulse Buys

This one depends on your shopping habits. If you find it easier to buy things you see in passing as you walk through a store's aisles, online shopping could save you money and even help you make healthier choices.

More Payment Methods

Another benefit of online shopping is that you can pay for things differently than you can at a physical store. Some retailers support PayPal or 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 or automated bot-answering screen 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 the site uses HTTPS  is one example.

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Band 9 Essay Samples | Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Shopping

On the flip side, the ease of online shopping has made many people compulsive shoppers. Most of us spend lots of time on the internet every day. And while we are on the internet, we get bombarded with numerous advertisements. For a compulsive shopper, this is a good reason to splurge. The fact that online shopping encourages us to buy things that we do not need or use cannot be denied. This can lead to debts. Also, there are security concerns. When you buy things online, you run a small risk of getting your financial information exploited by hackers. Of course, good anti-virus and anti-malware programs can offer a great deal of protection. But almost every week, we hear about data breaches at major online retailers.

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Essay on Online Shopping Advantages and Disadvantages

Essay on online shopping for students and children . In this article, ‘ Online Shopping Essay ‘ students will read the meaning , advantages and disadvantages of online shopping . A Paragraph on precautions during online shopping must be understood carefully to escape online fraud.

Meaning of Online Shopping

In our childhood stories, we were told that Santa used to deliver gifts to kids to fulfil their wishes. Nobody imagined that this could happen in real life also. But modern science has made it possible in today’s world. This is known by various names like digital shopping, online shopping, e-commerce, online purchasing, internet shopping etc. It is exactly like our routine shopping except that here the buyer does not visit the shopkeeper’s place. Rather the full store is sent to the buyer on his laptop or mobile phone through a website .

History of Online Shopping

The first secure online transaction was done in the year 1994. Immediately after that in 1995 Amazon and e-bay launched their shopping sites. Amazon.com, e-bay, Flipkart, Paytm Mall, Snapdeal, Myntra, Jabong.com, Bigbasket.com, Urbanclap, and Yebhi.com are the names of famous online shopping portals. With the availability of smartphones and cheaper internet packages, online shopping has taken a place in everyone’s life.

What Can You Buy Online

A large number of people buy almost everything from groceries to gold on the internet. One needs just basic knowledge to operate a cell phone and he/she can enjoy shopping while sitting at home. Earlier people were afraid of losing their money for paying for an article that they were not viewing physically. But the option of cash on delivery has done away with that fear. An option of EMI (equated monthly instalments) that is to pay in smaller instalments is also available at most of the shopping sites. People who can’t pay the full price of the product in one go can still buy the product through an online EMI scheme. Besides buying goods we can buy online services also. For example, the services of beauticians, plumbers, electricians, and home-maids can also be arranged online through various sites. It is so easy that even kids can shop online.

Online Shopping by Mobile Apps

Nowadays all the e-commerce sites have launched their mobile apps to make it even easier. Open the app, click on the items that you wish to buy and proceed to checkout and shopping is done. The day and date of delivery will be mentioned there. The most interesting part is that change and return options are also available here like our physical shopping. With each and every passing day, more buyers are getting attracted to online purchasing because it has a long list of benefits.

Advantages Of Online Shopping | Pros of Online Shopping

There are many advantages of online shopping but as every coin has two sides, online shopping is no exception. It has some disadvantages also, which are discussed below:

Disadvantages of Online Shopping | Cons of Online Shopping

A few people might experience the following disadvantages of online shopping which spoil their fun and comfort of online shopping. But, certain precautions and vigilant behaviour are a prerequisite to fully exploring the horizon of internet shopping.

Precautions Before Online Shopping

By following certain precautionary steps one can avoid these disadvantages of online shopping. Always buy from trusted websites, read reviews and users’ comments from various sites, and read product features and return policies thoroughly. It is evident now that the positive side overshadows the negative side. Happy online shopping.

Please let us know if this  Essay on Online Shopping  helped in your studies. You can share your self-written essays with us. We encourage young writers by publishing their content for free. Can you suggest more advantages and disadvantages of online shopping ?

Online Shopping Essay (Word-Meaning)

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Essay on Online Shopping is Good or Bad for Children (968 Words)

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Shopping has always been a fun activity from the early days. Be it shopping for the family, shopping for oneself it gives pleasure to both the parties i.e. one who is buying as well as the seller. Shopping is the time where one enjoys the time with family, friends or just oneself.

Shopping allows us a time to choose, to think to select and rethink over our decisions whether to buy an item or not. Another tern that is connected with shopping is ‘bargaining’. ‘Bargaining’ is the common settlement on the price of an item brought about by a discussion between the customer and the seller.

Sometimes these discussions don’t remain only discussions they reach the level of arguments! Malls, shops, departmental stores were the common places where people went for shopping.  

Shopping has various categories 

But with the advent of latest technology shopping has shifted from malls and mega marts to the 5 inch or 7 inch screens of our smart phones, tablets or computers… just a scroll through the websites and whatever you want is presented right in front of you!

Weird as it may seem online shopping is raging nowadays, with new websites opening every day. Different websites selling specific items. Whether its pepperfry selling customized furniture, jabong, myntra selling clothes or Amazon selling items of daily use, you have it all!  

“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness, didn’t know where to shop” .  

Like everything has its pros and cons. Even online shopping has both its advantages and disadvantages.   

Speaking of advantages online shopping comes with innumerable benefits that are hard to list. What are they?  

Online Shopping

Some e commerce websites also present sales and discounts. Those are quiet economical. Items are available at a much lower rate, sometimes even cheaper than the retail shops  

Talking about advantages we came across so many of them. But just like anything else online shopping also has its evil faces. Yes! It also has its bad effects, to name a few are:-  

Every item been it big or small has its effects and defects. It is we who have to be careful. Such bad situations can be avoided very easily through some carefulness and logical decision making.  

Here are a few tips as to how to avoid online frauds 

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PTE Academic Exam Practice Material

Online Shopping Essay

Read online shopping essay for class 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Know more about essay on online shopping in English for students in 300 words. What is the advantages and disadvantages of online shopping essay.

Online Shopping Essay

Online Shopping Essay 300 Words

With the advancement in technology and science, people can now do various things at the comfort of their homes and one such thing is online shopping. It has gained a lot of spotlight due to its ever-increasing demand and craze among people. Online shopping refers to the way of purchasing things online without actually going to the physical stores. People nowadays are busy earning their livelihood and they hardly get any time to go for shopping, however, with the advent of online shopping, they can now order anything be it clothes, footwear, gadgets, appliances and much more.

There are numerous advantages of online shopping, let’s take an insight into it.

Online shopping is the best option for people who do not have much time and are busy in their office and business work.

It is a convenient way for the people who cannot withstand crowded places and malls for shopping so they can sit at their home or office and can order anything anytime.

Online shopping offers a vast variety of options which is not possible with physical shopping. You can browse through different websites and can choose the product according to your requirements.

Online shopping does not require physical cash and you can make payments through your debit or credit cards although you have an option of cash on delivery.

Well, everything comes with some disadvantages as well. Although online shopping is easy and convenient, however sometimes it disappoints you as things ordered online may not seem the same when they arrive at your door, the colour, the size or something else can be different from the actual item. Also, there are some websites that are fake and provide you with great offers to tempt you and befool you at the end. So it is important that we should do online shopping wisely and with much care in order to avoid any kind of chaos later on.

Large shopping malls are replacing small shops

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  1. Pros and Cons of Online Shopping

    Shopping for items online can also have its pitfalls, including hidden price mark-ups, an increased risk of fraud, and the inability to use or wear the item you purchased right away. Can Be More Expensive Online purchases can cost you more for several reasons.

  2. 17 Pros and Cons of Shopping Online

    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.

  3. Band 9 Essay Samples

    The huge popularity of online shopping can be attributed to the fact that it makes shopping easier. It saves both time and money. Buyers no longer have to drive all the way to shops to buy things. Also, online stores tend to offer attractive prices probably because they have lower overhead costs.

  4. Essay on Online Shopping Advantages and Disadvantages

    Goods are relatively cheaper at online stores because their maintenance expenses are almost negligible. Online shopping companies offer their customers ample deals to sell their products like offering cash backs, lucky draws, festive sales, huge discounts and whatnot!

  5. Essay on Online Shopping is Good or Bad for Children (968 Words)

    Shopping is the time where one enjoys the time with family, friends or just oneself. Shopping allows us a time to choose, to think to select and rethink over our decisions whether to buy an item or not. Another tern that is connected with shopping is ‘bargaining’.

  6. Online Shopping Essay 300 Words

    Online shopping is the best option for people who do not have much time and are busy in their office and business work. It is a convenient way for the people who cannot withstand crowded places and malls for shopping so they can sit at their home or office and can order anything anytime.