Shopping on Black Friday

Shopping Online

Shopping Online or in Traditional Stores: Which is the Better Sell? 
by VERGE Staff | Your Money | Friday, November 29, 2013 

Black Friday is known as the busiest shopping day of the year in America due to the big deals retailers claim to offer on their products. But of course, there are pros and cons to shopping on Black Friday, regardless of whether you choose to shop online or in traditional brick and mortar stores. 

Because of the “holiday madness,” surrounding shopping in traditional stores, especially on Black Friday, many consumers plan to shop online this year. Spending time away from their families rather than spending money in businesses fighting over deals that may not be worth the time or their hard earned money becomes the issue for many Americans. According to a recent Gallup Poll survey, 53% of Americans will be more likely to do their Christmas shopping online this year. 

Nine Reasons to Consider Shopping Online 

The long lines, earlier and earlier hours and unruly crowds may be attributed to the rise of online shopping among American consumers. In fact, Amerisleep, a highly-rated retailer of memory foam mattresses, adjustable beds and related accessories, lists at least nine reasons people hate shopping in traditional stores on Black Friday in favor of shopping online. Those reasons include: 

#9 Impulse buying that can lead to overspending  

#8 Faux deals and limited door busters that may actually be cheaper closer to Christmas

#7 Waiting in long lines for hours 

#6 Crowds of people that may be tired and stressed out flooding the parking lots 

#5 Waste of a day off and feeling tired for the rest of the day from shopping

#4 Retail workers who are unable to take the day off and spend the holiday with their families  

#3 Less quality time with your own family 

#2 "Crazies" that can turn a happy holiday weekend into a tragedy (due to the competitive nature and mob mentality of these crowds when shopping for these so-called “amazing deals”)

#1 You can get the same or better deals online

But is Online Shopping the Better Sell?

While there has been an increase in the number of consumers choosing to shop online, primarily because it saves commuting time and allows you to comparison shop, traditional stores are still among the most popular places to shop for many Americans during the holiday season. According to the same Gallup Poll mentioned earlier, while 53% of Americans plan to do their shopping online, 74% still plan to shop in traditional department and discount stores.

Risks of Shopping Online 

Risks in Shopping Online

For all of its conveniences, online shopping still presents its own set of inconveniences and risks. At least four of those reasons include the following:

1. You won’t be able to examine or try on the item before purchasing. This makes it harder to buy personal items that fit correctly, or to verify the quality of a used product. 

2. While you can purchase in an instant, you may encounter unexpected delays in delivery. Your items may take four to eight weeks to arrive, depending on the departing location. International transactions will take even longer. Also, remember that computers can run slow, freeze up or just malfunction. Many online shoppers have gotten impatient, clicked a button or link one time too many, and purchased unnecessary duplicates. Therefore, if you plan to shop online, be careful that your instant purchase doesn’t turn into an instant mistake. 

3. Online returns are more complicated than at traditional stores. If you have to return a product for whatever reason, typically, you will have to take the product to the post office in order to send it back to the vendor. Even if the refund is approved, you should expect anywhere from two weeks to the next billing cycle for your card to be credited back. If the store is the middle party between an individual vendor and buyer, that too can be a longer process. If the vendor does not approve the refund, or there is a billing error, you may have to contact the corporate office to settle the matter. 

4. Shipping and handling costs must be factored in as well. So not only are you paying the courier to deliver the item, you are also paying to reimburse the vendor for packaging the item. A bargain item may cost far less to purchase than to ship, making it not such a bargain after all. 

Which is the Better Choice?...You Decide

Despite these risks, online and traditional shopping are both here to stay. The major chain stores know this, and nearly all of them have shopping options on their company websites. Whether online shopping is the right choice for you depends on the reputation of the company, the type of goods you want and how comfortable you are with the process. If you’re venturing into online shopping for the first time this season, do some research and seek advice from veteran online shoppers to make the best of your experience.     

Image caption: 9 Reasons to Hate Black Friday Launches Amerisleep's Official Blog; Image credit: Amerisleep; Photo credit: Dreamstime  

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