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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

  • Online shopping is convenient and offers a variety of products you may not be able to find at your local stores.
  • It's easier to comparison shop online, where you can access prices, reviews, and product details with a click.
  • When you shop online, you need to wait for your product to be delivered to you, and you might spend more than you would if you went to a brick-and-mortar store.
  • There's also a risk of fraud when you shop online, which you can combat by choosing trusted stores and paying with a card that offers fraud protection.


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."

essay about online shopping pros and cons

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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 a great option if you're not interested in doing this manually.

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.

Private Shopping

Ordering online is the preferred way to get something discreetly. Nobody has to see what you're filling your cart with, and some places even offer inconspicuous packaging so your delivery person is also none the wiser.

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, Bitcoin, or zero-interest payment plans, 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:

No Inspection Ability

Things you order online could be larger or smaller than how they appear in the pictures, or the measurements listed for the product could have been written down incorrectly. And when you buy clothes online, you can't feel the material, see how it fits around your waist, or notice how it's made. Most online stores make it easy to return items for this reason.

Can't Always Talk to Someone Immediately

If you have a question about what you're about to order, or what you just ordered, you can't just walk up to an employee. You might instead 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 Problems

You're more likely to have your package arrive broken, wet, melted, etc., or not arrive at all, when you're not the one who picked it up yourself. Even packages that do arrive could sit outside long enough for theft to occur.

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. Plus, depending on where you live, you might pay a bit more due to special taxes for online shopping.

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. For example, pay attention to whether the site uses HTTPS , and protect your online accounts with secure, but different , passwords.

Legality Concerns

While this isn't a widespread problem, you could accidentally buy something that's illegal where you live. The product might very well be available from the website you're on, but it could also be illegal to order in your area. It's much easier for a website to offer these kinds of products than a store because websites can be created quickly and hosted all over the world with less oversight or concern for international shoppers.

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Essay on Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Shopping

In a world full of technologies, nothing is left from the impact of digitalization. With the emergence of the internet, everyone is going digital. Now we have power in our hands. We can book movie tickets online, we can pay bills online, we can book vehicle tickets online and even we can order food online. When everything can be done through mobile then why not shopping? Yes, you can shop for anything from your mobile phone.

Essay on Online Shopping

Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Shopping Essay in English

Here, I’m providing short and long essays on the Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Shopping. This topic will be useful for students and everyone who is still confused with this mode of shopping.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Shopping Essay 10 Lines (100 – 150 Words)

1) Online shopping is when you buy a product or service over the internet.

2) Online shopping allows you to purchase goods anytime, whether it is day or night.

3) In online shopping, your item is delivered at home without going anywhere.

4) Goods purchased online are cheaper than those available in the offline markets.

5) In online shopping, customers are loaded with a variety of options and offers.

6) Online shopping is more prone to cybercrimes.

7) It has a higher chance of receiving damaged or unwanted products.

8) Online shopping sometimes does not provide full customer satisfaction.

9) Quick delivery of products is not possible while shopping online.

10) Online shopping is not meant for people who do not have smartphones.

Short Essay on Pros and Cons of Online Shopping (200 – 250 Words)

Online shopping, sometimes also referred to as e-shopping is a modern technique of buying products by making use of the internet. A wide variety of things are available in the online market. You can easily purchase them with the help of your mobile phones, laptops, tablets, etc.

Online markets are blessings for working people who follow busy schedules. People who do not want to waste time by going to the markets; they can easily buy products online. You can sit on the sofa while making any purchase. However, online shopping does not restrict you with their timings. They are open all the time on all the days of the week. All you need to do is a few clicks on your mobile phone and the product is at your home.

But it can raise several security related issues. Doing payment online requires more attention and care. Because of this reason, many people set their foot back from online shopping. Online shopping sometimes disappoints you by delivering wrong or damaged products. In fact, the long wait for product delivery is not suitable for urgently required items. While shopping online, many sites apply delivery charges on the products; hence you need to pay an extra amount. Online shopping is not suitable for the purchase of many products as you cannot check the actual quality of the product. Seeing only pictures is sometimes not sufficient to make choices.

Long Essay on Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Shopping (500 – 600 Words)


Earlier people used to go to distant markets to buy necessary things. There was no other available option for shopping. But now with the changing time, we have changed our method of buying things. Nowadays, people have the option to choose whether they want to go to the market or the product will get delivered to their doorstep. Yes, this can be possible when you shop online.

Making use of the internet to buy products is called online shopping. In online shopping, we can shop anything by picking them from the virtual online stores and ordering them at our address. It is a simple and convenient mode of shopping.

Online Shopping: Brief History

After the emergence of smartphones and internet technology, online shopping came into existence. Initially, it was designed to promote and advertise the products of the companies. Later, it was made possible to exchange goods using the internet. In 1994, the first secure shopping channel was established. Flowers, wines, and chocolates were the initial products that were sold online. Later the online market flourished and wide varieties of products were made available.

In 1995, Amazon and eBay established its site for online shopping followed by Alibaba in 2003. Soon after, many other online shopping sites have made their place in the market.

Advantages/ Benefits of Online Shopping

Online shopping offers huge advantages to their customers. The dependency of people on online shopping is increasing day by day. During the days of the pandemic, online shopping was the savior of the time. Some of the major advantages of online shopping are as follows:

  • Flexibility: Online shopping is a flexible way of purchasing products. There is no time bound in an online market. Whenever you are free, you can scroll down for your favorite items and order them.
  • Big savings: You can save your fuel, energy, as well as the time when opting to online shopping. No need to move anywhere, just move your fingers.
  • Comparison: During online shopping, you can easily compare the prices of different products from different sites. While offline shopping, going to various shops to compare prices will be a hectic job.
  • Huge options: Unlike limited items in the physical shops, online stores are flooded with a wide variety of items. They offer a huge option to choose from.
  • Good deals: Online shopping sites throw various good deals to their customers. During any occasion or festive season, they offer discounts and low prices.

Disadvantages/ Cons of Online Shopping

No method can fully satisfy customers, and so the online method of shopping. For some people, it is a boon while some still fear shopping online. Some of the disadvantages of online shopping are listed below:

  • Security: The main fear people experience while shopping online is security. If not taken proper precautions, you can easily be the victim of online fraud. Payment and privacy are other concerns associated with the online market.
  • Satisfaction: Online shopping does not provide full customer satisfaction as you are not allowed to check the product physically. There are many chances of wrong product delivery.
  • Difficult to return: If you are not satisfied with the product, you can return them but the process is not that simple. Some sites do not even offer an exchange or return policy.
  • Delivery: While ordering anything online, it takes time to reach your destination. Therefore, you need to wait for some days to receive the product.
  • Bargaining: Offline markets are a good place for people who are experts in bargaining. In online stores, prices are fixed and you cannot deny them.

Today the number of people who shop online is comparatively high.  The growing trend of online shopping has turned many people towards purchasing things online. However, many still prefer to go to physical shops to buy things. Among online shopping and offline shopping, people can choose the way that suits them better.

I hope the above given essay on online shopping will be useful for you in knowing the advantages and disadvantages of this modern mode of shopping.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions on Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Shopping

Ans. Amazon.in, Snapdeal.com, AJIO.com, Myntra.com, Flipkart.com, etc are some famous sites for online shopping.

Ans. Amazon.in, founded by Jeff Bezos is the leading online shopping site in the world.

Ans. Michael Aldrich was the inventor of online shopping, who established the technique of e-commerce in 1979.

Ans. You can buy many things online like clothes, groceries, electronics, packaged food, furniture, beauty and personal care products, toys, home decor, etc.

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Band 9 Essay Samples | Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Shopping

by Manjusha Nambiar · Published December 2, 2014 · Updated April 25, 2023

Nowadays online shopping becomes more popular than in-store shopping. Is it a positive or a negative development? Give your reasons and examples.

Now that we can buy just about anything with a few mouse clicks from the comfort of our home, very few people actually feel the need to venture into brick and mortar stores. There is no denying the fact that online shopping has become more popular than in-store shopping. This trend has both positive and negative aspects.

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. This allows them to sell items for deeply discounted prices. This can lead to major cost benefits for shoppers. In addition, online shopping makes it easy to buy things from any part of the world. Even if an item is not available in your country, you can buy it from online stores. Online shopping also allows you to compare prices before hitting the purchase button.

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.

To conclude, online shopping has several advantages and disadvantages. However, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Of course, the shopper has to exercise some common sense and keep their device free of malware if they want to enjoy the benefits of online shopping.

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Top 15 Pros and Cons of Online Shopping

Posted April 17, 2023 by Jennifer Reiszel

adult male holding a blue credit card sitting at a table using a silver-colored laptop to shop online

Shopping online has quite a few benefits. Purchasing plane tickets, groceries, household necessities, and office supplies has never been more convenient than it is right now. Online stores are often very competitive with prices and products, providing shoppers with a wealth of options that brick-and-mortar stores may not have.

However, it can feel overwhelming to compare prices, reviews, and products without having the ability to physically see the items. Before you begin shopping online for your next purchase, large or small, take into consideration the advantages and disadvantages of online shopping when compared to traditional shopping.

Advantages of Online Shopping

Aside from the convenience of shopping from the comfort of your home — or anywhere, for that matter — shopping online comes with many advantages. Some of the perks include avoiding parking hassles, long lines, and crowds during particularly busy shopping seasons. Let’s dig into some of the additional benefits of online shopping.

Shop Any Time from Anywhere

The most obvious benefit of shopping online is the hours that you can shop. Where else do you have the ability to shop at any time, day or night, while wearing your pajamas?

The 24/7 nature of online shopping allows everyone to take advantage of the perks of a sale and the low prices of a particular retailer, regardless of where they live or what hours they can shop. This means people living in rural areas or working the night shift enjoy the same savings and convenience of those in a city working 9-to-5 jobs.

Avoid Crowds

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many of us to revise the way that we approached everything, from shopping for groceries to enjoying various forms of entertainment. Avoiding crowds became the norm, and although that may no longer be necessary, it may be preferable for many shoppers. Visiting shopping malls, especially during high volume times, also means dealing with traffic and crowds.

When you shop online, not only do you avoid long lines at checkout, but you also save money on gas, skip roaming the parking lot trying to find a parking space, and avoid all the associated dings and scrapes on your vehicle.


Time and place considerations are just the beginning of the convenience advantages offered by shopping online. With online shopping, packages are delivered to your doorstep, saving you time and money on gas. In addition, shopping through an app that saves your personal information makes checkout quicker and more convenient.

Compare Prices Easily

If you have some time to spend browsing, online shopping gives you the chance to thoroughly shop around and compare prices. Going from store to store in a physical shopping center takes a lot more time than simply opening a new browser tab and running a few searches.

By reading reviews and comparing products prior to making a purchase, you can feel confident that you are getting the best value for your money without wasting as much time and energy.

Take Advantage of Resales and Discounts

Online shopping gets easier and saves you more money over time as you learn how to fully take advantage of the benefits that are unique to this shopping method. For example, the online retail space is full of alternative sellers and websites that specialize in gently used and refurbished items that can save you money.

Another way to save money online is to sign up for discount and sale notifications via email or text message. These services notify you about the best time to shop, and because you can shop anywhere at any time, it’s easy to take advantage of these deals.

Low-Pressure Purchases

When making large lifestyle purchases such as cars, insurance, and travel, it’s common to encounter aggressive salespeople when shopping in person. In contrast, online shopping offers a no-pressure sales experience. Without a person pressuring you to make a decision, it’s easier to conduct additional research, call friends and family to get their opinions, and fully evaluate options before making a purchase. It’s easy to save your progress for later or abandon your cart instead of completing a transaction if you change your mind.

Easily Save Items for Later

Unlike walking away at a department store, if you choose to abandon a cart online, all the items you considered purchasing remain accessible, at least for a while. Many retailers also send product reminder emails if you leave items in your cart or save them for later. Additionally, these reminder emails sometimes contain special offers or discount codes.

Disadvantages of Online Shopping

Online shopping comes with some clear advantages, but there are disadvantages as well. In some cases, a deal is too good to be true or falls short of the website’s description. It can also be hard to receive satisfactory customer service online if the company uses chatbot robots or makes it difficult to reach a person on the phone.

Some of the other disadvantages of shopping online include:

Buying on Faith

Shopping in person allows you to look closely at a product before purchasing it to determine if it’s the right size, fabric, or quality that you’re searching for before committing to a purchase. Online shopping, on the other hand, requires a willingness to “buy before you try” policy. Especially when purchasing clothing, it’s important to know your exact size and measurements in order to avoid a bad experience.

What You See Isn’t Always Available

Besides having the ability to try on an item in person, when you have something in your hands, you know you can buy it. That isn’t always true when shopping online. It’s not uncommon to deal with items that are on backorder or no longer available when attempting to make purchases. This can be quite problematic when shopping for gifts and you need to have an item by a certain date.

There May Be Hidden Fees

Although you save money by not driving back and forth to stores, fees for shipping and other items can impact the final price you pay when shopping online. For example, if you choose to return an item, sometimes you may have to pay restocking fees or other costs associated with shipping an item back to the seller. In addition, depending on the item, location, and business, you might spend as much or more on shipping costs than what you spend on the item.

Time Delays

Another clear disadvantage of online shopping is the delay between purchasing an item and actually receiving it. Although many online retailers have gotten better at fast shipping, you often need to pay extra for overnight delivery. Other factors, such as weather, can also delay shipping times even further.

Human Interaction Is Not Guaranteed

While avoiding the pressure of dealing with sales personnel is a positive part of online shopping, the flip side to this benefit is that it can be hard to find help when you need it. Many online retailers rely on overseas customer service and/or chat bots that make it difficult to get direct answers if a question or issue arises.

Ways to Shop Online Securely and Safely

One final disadvantage of shopping online involves using a credit card or debit card over the internet. Many people are understandably hesitant to make purchases this way. However, with some simple precautions, shopping online safely with credit or debit cards is possible.

Let’s take a look at some simple ways to protect yourself and your financial information when shopping online.

Look for Signs of Security

Above all else, debit card and credit card holders need to be wary of potentially purchasing an item from a website that doesn’t have the proper security in place.

If you see an ad online that feels too good to be true, it probably is. Smart shopping is an essential component in ensuring you don’t become a victim of credit card fraud.

Another way to protect yourself is to be aware of the type of website you are patronizing. Before making a purchase, take notice of the URL. Secure websites have a URL that begins with https (hypertext transfer protocol secure) as opposed to http . Websites with https can mask shared data, such as passwords and financial information, through Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology.

Keep Privacy and Trustworthiness in Mind

Online shoppers must be aware of privacy and security precautions while shopping online. Personal information — like payment information or banking details — get stolen every day. The good news is that you can prevent credit card fraud by being conscious of your privacy and the trustworthiness of the businesses you patronize.

To shop online safely and protect your personal information, familiarize yourself with the company’s security measures and their policies. Start by reading the customer service policies and reviews, whether it’s for a brick-and-mortar store or an online establishment. This information provides everything you need to know about shopping on the site.

If policies seem vague or the website doesn’t take the proper security measures, it’s best to shop elsewhere.

HRCCU Can Help You Shop Online Safely

At Hudson River Community Credit Union (HRCCU), our experience in online and mobile banking means we are positioned to provide you with support and advice about making safe and effective online purchases. In addition, if something does happen to your credit or debit card information while shopping, the financial team at HRCCU can help you rectify the situation.

Contact us today to learn how we can help keep your information safe and help if something should happen.

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Online Shopping Is Amazing. Or Is It?

So many shower curtains! But with the endless choice comes the risk of being fooled.

essay about online shopping pros and cons

By Shira Ovide

This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it weekdays.

In our pandemic-altered 2020, it’s felt essential for many of us to be able to buy almost anything from home. One thousand varieties of shower curtains at our fingertips!

But being a truly informed online shopper now requires us to have an advanced degree in internet scams and the business of how products are marketed, sold and transported around the world.

This is a pattern with online news, entertainment, merchandise and more. Seemingly endless choice is amazing, but it has also introduced more confusion and the risk of being fooled.

I still think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, but I’m also tired from thinking so hard about buying a pressure cooker or whether that photo from a political protest is real or forged.

My exhaustion reached a peak in the last few weeks. I wrote last month about bogus reviews on Amazon , and now I find myself eyeballing every online review for clues that it was bought off. I’ve always been skeptical, but now I don’t trust anything.

Then this weekend, I listened to this podcast about the Chinese mystery seeds. Remember all those news articles months ago about Americans who received plant seeds they didn’t order that arrived from China or other foreign countries?

It turns out that it was probably not a nefarious plot but rather the result of a surge in online ordering, paranoia about China and a common internet scam known as “brushing.”

Brushing essentially involves a seller fabricating online orders to make a product appear more popular, and then trying to avoid detection by shipping a cheap and low-weight product, such as plant seeds, to a real person. Here is a more detailed explanation .

Not long ago I also had to explain to a family member why an item he bought on Amazon arrived on his doorstep in a Walmart shipping box. Short answer: The merchant on Amazon probably took the order, bought the same item for less on Walmart’s website, had it shipped directly to my relative, and pocketed the price difference as profit. This is another common e-commerce moneymaking tactic in the sea of complicated ways to game the system.

Online shopping is a massive industry, complete with consulting companies that advise on fake reviews , software sold for people to spot and take advantage of price differences and towns filled with warehouses to repackage online orders. This is how shopping works now.

You can, of course, just click buy and be blissfully unaware of any of this. That’s fine! I know I’m that annoying person who screams “THAT’S A TRICK” when you’re just trying to order dish soap.

But also know that there’s a risk we might be persuaded by bogus online reviews into buying a bad product, or we might believe we’re buying something from Amazon and instead purchase a dangerous toy from a no-name seller . Or maybe we freak out about seeds arriving at home out of seemingly nowhere.

The risk of going astray isn’t confined to shopping. Behind the Facebook post at the top of my feed , the series that Netflix recommends and the headphones that appear in Amazon’s one-click ordering are often elaborate, financially motivated games to influence what we do .

This system of internet persuasion is not inherently bad, but it is helpful to understand how it works. It’s just that doing so is utterly exhausting.

Remember: Elected officials make laws

It is the job of our elected officials to tell companies what they should or shouldn’t do.

We know that banks help draft financial regulations and automakers advise on car safety rules, but somewhere in there lawmakers must make laws.

Remember that. My colleague David McCabe wrote that Google, Facebook, Twitter and some other companies suddenly seem open to tweaking a bedrock law of the internet that limits companies’ legal exposure for the material that people post on their sites.

This rule, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, made possible YouTube, Amazon’s sea of merchants and the comments sections of The New York Times, but both Republicans and Democrats say the law must change — although they’re divided on why and how .

David wrote that the new posture of internet companies “could change the dynamics of an increasingly heated debate over how to handle hate speech, extremist content and child pornography online.”

But again, lawmakers must decide on new rules. Changing Section 230 requires elected officials to thoughtfully balance freedom of online expression with our safety. And here I get discouraged.

Reading David’s article I had a flashback to 2018, when Mark Zuckerberg — in response to Facebook’s gazillionth scandal — said that government regulation might be needed to disclose who is behind paid online political messages, similar to the rules for TV advertising. This was after Facebook for years sought to be excluded from the political ad disclosure rules that apply to conventional media.

Members of Congress had pending bills to mandate more transparency for online ads. And then … nothing. The rules didn’t pass, at least not yet. (To be fair, online companies fought against some of the proposed internet political ad restrictions.)

Facebook on its own started an online hub that discloses who pays for ads about political and hot-button social issues. Facebook’s ad transparency efforts are seriously flawed , but they’re still more helpful than the nothing from America’s elected officials.

So yes, it’s notable when major internet companies say they’re open to revised regulation. But the next step — government rule makers deciding on thoughtful rules and actually making them — is the hard part.

(Meanwhile in Europe, in an effort to regulate the tech industry there, lawmakers wrote laws .)

Before we go …

The U.S. government hack was bigger than we thought: Software used by many companies and government agencies to monitor their computer networks was found to have been compromised by Russian hackers , my colleagues reported. That appeared to be the origin of a large and sophisticated cyberattack that struck parts of the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies.

Dying of “overwork”: More than a dozen package-delivery couriers have died in South Korea this year, some after complaining of unbearable work loads, my colleague Choe Sang-Hun wrote. The revelations have made South Koreans reflect on worker protections in the country and the expectations for online orders to arrive with “bullet speed.”

Can technology help people remember us? A Wall Street Journal video documentary discusses technologies that can preserve people’s voices, photos and memories for our loved ones after we die. I always thought technologies like chatbots of dead people were creepy, but this video made me reconsider.

Hugs to this

I love it when pets attack whatever is happening on a TV screen. Here is a cat who is really into a “Star Wars” scene . Pets are so weird.

We want to hear from you. Tell us what you think of this newsletter and what else you’d like us to explore. You can reach us at [email protected].

If you don’t already get this newsletter in your inbox, please sign up here .

Shira Ovide writes the On Tech newsletter, a guide to how technology is reshaping our lives and world. More about Shira Ovide

Online Shopping: Benefits and Drawbacks Essay

Buying things on the internet is more popular than ever – but are there any downsides to this activity? Find more in this online shopping benefits and drawbacks essay.


  • Benefits of Shopping Online

Disadvantages of Shopping Online

Online shopping has emerged as a new and important way of making purchases. Due to the increased use of computers and the internet, more people have started to engage in this activity. Businesses see online shopping as an opportunity that can be exploited to increase profitability. For this reason, many businesses in the UK are offering online shopping services to their customers. By doing this, the businesses are able to increase their sales and attract more customers.

Consumers also benefit from the convenience offered by electronic commerce. To begin with, online shopping is easy to take part in. The WebWise Team (2012) explains that a person only needs a credit or debit card and a secure password in order to engage in online shopping. However, online shopping has some potential drawbacks due to its electronic nature. This paper will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of shopping online with examples from my own experiences in online shopping.

Benefits of Online Shopping

Online shopping is convenient for the customer since he can make purchases from the comfort of his house. To take part in online shopping, a person simply needs to visit the website of the business and browse through the list of available goods or services. He then clicks on the item he wants to purchase and once the payment is made, the transaction is complete (WebWise Team 2012).

The goods are then delivered to the customers’ address within a given duration of time. This is a very easy way of shopping compared to traditional shopping where a person has to physically visit the business in order to make a purchase. Personally, I have used online shopping to buy books from online stores. I have been able to obtain these products without visiting the bookstores in person.

This has saved me the time and expense it would have taken to travel to the physical location of the shops. Another major advantage of online shopping is that it allows the consumer to search for the preferred good from many stores in a convenient manner. Before making a purchase, most people prefer to visit a number of stores and discover the best style of the product they want to buy.

Online shopping makes it easy for the person to search for products from numerous stores. Using search engines such as Google and Bing, a person is able to identify numerous stores offering the same product (WebWise Team 2012). It is more likely that you will find the product that suits your exact requirements due to the great variety presented by online shopping.

When shopping for gifts for my friends, I find the large variety offered by online shopping very helpful. I am able to obtain a large catalogue of goods to choose from and find the most fascinating gift for my friends. Online shopping is therefore very beneficial to me since it gives me access to more shops and products.

The last major advantage of online shopping is that it assists the customer to find the best deal on a product. When making a purchase, a person mostly searches for the store that offers the best quality product at the lowest price. It is therefore important to make a comparison of the pricing and quality of products offered by the various stores. In most cases, different stores offer different pricing on particular products so that they can attract customers.

When engaging in traditional shopping, a person has to be involved in window-shopping in order to discover the best deal. This is a tedious process as you may have to visit numerous stores before you find the best deal. Most people end up settling for a deal that is not necessarily the best. This is not the case with online shopping where one can compare prices at the click of a mouse.

It is easier to find discounts on the product you want to purchase through online shopping by looking for the product through search engines. WebWise Team (2012) explains that online shopping is beneficial when you want to compare prices for products that are identical regardless of the store you purchase them from. I have found bargain deals in electronic products by searching through various online stores. As a result, I have benefited from the best price because of online shopping.

In spite of the many benefits of online shopping, this mode of purchase has some significant drawbacks. Undoubtedly, the most significant drawback is the security concerns associated with the use of credit cards online. In order to complete the online shopping process, one has to offer payment for the product selected. To complete this payment section, one is required to enter his credit or debit card details into the website (Bradbury 2008).

The credit and debit card details are sensitive since they can be stolen by an intruder. If this happens, the intruder can misuse the customer’s credit card by making purchases that will be charged to the credit card owner. This will result in financial loss for the customer. The security risk associated with online shopping has led to many people avoiding this exposure to hackers and fraudsters.

Bradbury (2008) confirms that the fear of giving out credit card details online prevents many people from engaging in online shopping. The risk of having my credit card numbers stolen as I engage in online shopping has greatly limited my participation in online shopping. So far, I only engage in online shopping from stores that I can trust. I have faith in the security system provided by these stores and therefore feel safe when making payments there.

Another significant drawback of online shopping is that it requires the customers to reveal personal information. If this information is accessed by a third party, it might violate the privacy of the customer. In order for the transaction to be complete, the customer has to provide information including his name, address, and telephone number. The customer also has to provide information on the product that he is buying from the website.

Most online stores store this information on a permanent basis in their databases. There are major concerns over the safety of the customer information stored by the online store. Bradbury (2008) states that most online stores in the UK do not implement strong security measures when handling customer details. It is therefore possible for a hacker to obtain private customer information from the online store.

Hackers can steal customer account details and use them to commit crimes such as identity theft. I suspect that some of the information I have provided at an online store was accessed by a third party illegally since I have been receiving unsolicited mail using the email address that I provided at the website.

Finally, online shopping can compromise the integrity of the customer’s personal computer. Surfing the internet is a hazardous experience since one is likely to encounter viruses that will harm the computer. Online shopping requires the user to visit new websites that offer the desired online goods. Bradbury (2008) warns that online shopping can expose the consumer to malicious scripts and viruses.

Most online store owners are not concerned with security. They are online interested in selling their products to the customers. Some therefore end up infecting customers’ machines without knowing. When a computer is infected, its performance may become degraded. In addition to this, it is easy to steal information from infected machines. Bradbury (2008) reveals that some hackers insert malicious scripts that steal customer passwords.

Online Shopping: Essay Conclusion

This paper set out to discuss the merits and drawbacks of online shopping. It began by noting that online shopping is gaining popularity as more people make use of computers and the internet. The merits associated with online shopping were then discussed. The paper revealed that online shopping is convenient, offers greater variety, and enables the customer to get the best price for the products.

However, the paper also acknowledged that there are some significant disadvantages of online shopping. They include the risk of credit card theft, theft of personal information, and infection of the customers’ computer. From the discussions offered in this paper, it is evident that most of the drawbacks associated with online shopping arise from security concerns. It can therefore be claimed that if the security concerns are effectively addressed, online shopping will a safe and convenient method of buying items for the consumer.

Bradbury, D 2008, Is online shopping ever secure? Web.

WebWise Team 2012, What is online shopping? Web.

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IvyPanda. (2023, October 29). Online Shopping: Benefits and Drawbacks Essay. https://ivypanda.com/essays/online-shopping-benefits-and-drawbacks/

"Online Shopping: Benefits and Drawbacks Essay." IvyPanda , 29 Oct. 2023, ivypanda.com/essays/online-shopping-benefits-and-drawbacks/.

IvyPanda . (2023) 'Online Shopping: Benefits and Drawbacks Essay'. 29 October.

IvyPanda . 2023. "Online Shopping: Benefits and Drawbacks Essay." October 29, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/online-shopping-benefits-and-drawbacks/.

1. IvyPanda . "Online Shopping: Benefits and Drawbacks Essay." October 29, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/online-shopping-benefits-and-drawbacks/.


IvyPanda . "Online Shopping: Benefits and Drawbacks Essay." October 29, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/online-shopping-benefits-and-drawbacks/.

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Pros and Cons of Online Shopping

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