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The Pros and Cons of online Shopping Vs. Brick and Mortar Stores

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The Pros and Cons of Online Shopping vs. Brick and Mortar Stores

People tend to think of security, convenience, and cost when they go shopping. What they may not consider is which type of shopping is right for them: online stores or traditional brick and mortar stores. Every day, more people are searching online to do their shopping, but with the ever-changing production of new products, and the increasingly growing options of how to purchase items, it is important to understand the differences and similarities between online stores and traditional brick and mortar shopping. In properly researching and educating themselves on the pros and cons of each, shoppers will be better able to decide which venue or method of shopping is appropriate for them.

Online shopping is becoming a way that more people do their shopping. "US retail e-commerce sales in Q309 rose 4.5% on a quarterly basis, from $32.5 billion to $34 billion, according to the US Census Bureau. On an annual basis, they rose 1.8%, from $33.4 billion" (Marketing Charts, 2009) . With the popularity of the Internet and a rather decadent society, the concept of shopping from the comfort of one's home appeals to a broad range of people. By sporting a wider selection of products in an easily accessible way online, the online shopper can find almost anything her or she is looking for with the click of a button. Along with the convenience of quickly finding products, the online consumers are also able to compare and find the best prices and deals on their desired merchandise easily by using a search engine like Google. Without possessing a traditional storefront, online stores are able to give discounts and deals easier than brick and mortar stores due to having a lower overhead operational cost. The ability to display and promote a wide range and variety of products on a webpage with multiple shipping options is a more efficient and effective way to both save on overhead cost and attract a broader range of consumers than having a traditional storefront space.

However, E-commerce does have its drawbacks. One of the biggest concerns consumers have is "about the security of personal and financial information when conducting transactions online" (Identity Theft Resource Center, 2010). Although most online stores offer secure checkout services, the consumer still is at increased risk for credit card fraud and identity theft. This deters many from online shopping. Another thing to consider is that, like with most online transactions, customer service may be a lengthy and impersonal process; since there is little to no human interaction, it may take an extended period of time to resolve any issues that may occur. Being web knowledgeable can help alleviate any problems that might come up, but this should not be expected of everyone. In fact, not everyone has a computer or Internet access to be able to use online



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