Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Shopping

While brick and mortar stores used to reign the retail world, online shopping has become the new king of the industry. From textbooks to clothing to furniture, more and more people are heading online for future purchases. But what are the benefits and drawbacks of online shopping?

Shopping Online

Advantages

Online shopping wouldn't be as popular as it is without tons of perks. Whether you're short or time or searching for some specific, there are tons of benefits of online shopping that any savvy spender can appreciate:

  • Convenience: No need to beat traffic and circle the parking lot of the local shops. You can access thousands of online marketplaces from the comfort of your own home on your laptop or even a smartphone.
  • Variety: While physical stores have limited shelf space to budget, online shops do not. That means you might have different and more interesting choices to explore, like unique features and colors than traditional stores offer.
  • Comparison: If you want to compare prices at different shops, you'll have to make multiple trips. Not so with the online marketplace. Some sites even offer one-click comparison shopping for your convenience.

Disadvantages

Shopping online might be a fun experience, but it's not without its share of disadvantages. Here are just a few of the concerns that you may have when shopping online:

  • Security: Modern marketplaces may be safer than before, but there's still a risk that an intruder can get your sensitive information when you purchase goods online.
  • Fraud: Not every vendor has your best interests in mind. Some may accept money and then never send your item in the mail, and customer service might not have your back.
  • Defective Items: Even if the picture online looks flawless, you might receive a less-than-perfect item in the mail due to shipping damage or fraudulent vendors.

Protecting Yourself

So, what can you do to get the benefits of online shopping without the drawbacks? Check out our online shopping tips.

  • Technology: Consider adding or updating your antivirus, antiphishing, and antimalware software to help prevent identity theft.
  • Research: Look for the SSL logo on any vendor site that you use, and avoid any sites that request unusual personal information like your Social Security number.
  • Fine Print: Read the fine print to examine the return policy, and see whether your debit card or credit card company provides protection against fraud.
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