Retail Stores vs. Online Shops: Which One is Better?

In today’s digitally-oriented world, online shops have provided consumers with goods and products from the convenience of their homes. However, this doesn’t mean that there is no more need for physical retail stores. The word that physical stores are slowly dying is greatly exaggerated. In fact, it is holding up pretty well in the midst of all these online shops and businesses today.

The Stats

Reports from the U.S. Department of Commerce Statistics say:

  • There was a 3.6% increase in the total of retail sales from 2016 ($337.5 billion) to 2017 ($349.6 billion).
  • A 16% increase in e-commerce sales took place between 2016 ($390 billion) and 2017 ($453 billion).
  • Brick-and-mortar experienced a 2% increase, from $298.5 billion in 2016 to $304.3 billion in 2017
  • In the span of a decade (2007 to 2017), e-commerce sales increased with a 5.1% rise.

According to Statista, the preference for online shopping decreases as the demographics go up. About 67% of millennials prefer online shopping over going to stores, while 56% of Gen-Xers and only 41% of baby boomers choose online shopping. To wrap it up, only a mere 28% of seniors shop online.

Why People Prefer Online Shopping

A lot of people find online shopping convenient and more practical compared to having to find the time to go out. Other than the conveniences online shopping provides, here are a few more reasons why folks opt to do their shopping over the world wide web.

  • No closing time. They can shop anytime they want to – before going to work or late at night.
  • Compare products from different sites. This allows the buyer to get better deals and save money on their purchases.
  • Stay at home. Shoppers no longer need to go out to physically get the items they want from different stores. Most sites offer free shipping and delivery for purchases. Some even employ the services of a reverse logistics provider for returns.
  • Time-saver. Truthfully, going shopping in malls and retail stores can be too time-consuming especially during the holidays. Online shopping saves you from all the unnecessary travel time.
  • Item availability. Items are easier to find online, especially those that are harder to find.

Why People Prefer Brick-and-Mortar Shops

Brick-and-Mortar Shops

  • Item check. Some people prefer to hold and inspect items first before making a purchase. This is true with goods such as clothes, shoes, make-up, furniture, and groceries.
  • Real-time turnover of items. You no longer need to wait a few days for your item/s to arrive. Just pay for them at the counter and take your items home with you.
  • Customer service. You can talk to or ask for the help or input of shop attendants and sales representatives if you have concerns about a specific product.
  • No shipping costs to think of. You get the item for its price tag without the additional cost.
  • Minimize item returns. The ability to inspect items decreases the chances of item returns. If ever a return is necessary, it is still more convenient to physically go to the shop and get it done in a day compared to having to ship the item back and wait for a replacement.
  • The overall experience. Most people still prefer to interact in a community. People will still go to shops and malls even if they don’t buy a single thing. Couples or families can take this time to go on dates or to just spend time with each other.

Whatever your preference is, whether it is actual physical shopping or going online for your purchases, the important thing is you are satisfied with your purchase and with the services you are getting. The question about which one is better is purely subjective. At the end of the day, go with what works for you best.

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