Home BUSINESS Physical stores vs online shopping. What are the pros and cons?

Physical stores vs online shopping. What are the pros and cons?


Supermarkets and stores have been the go-to places for shopping for many years. However, with the advent of online shopping, consumers now have the option to purchase their goods from the comfort of their own homes. The global Covid-19 pandemic brought about accelerated adoption of online shopping since many people were limited when it comes to movement.

The accelerated adoption of shopping online also brought about new online shops, and partnerships with already existing platforms for quick adoption. Through this, physical stores like Carrefour Uganda started selling on platforms like Jumia and Glovo.

Despite the adoption, there are a lot of setbacks that each shopping option offers.

One of the biggest advantages of physical stores is that they offer the ability to touch, smell, and even taste the products before making a purchase, which can be helpful in making informed decisions.

Additionally, in-store shopping provides an opportunity to ask store employees for advice or recommendations.

The table below compares both options.

Online ShoppingPhysical Stores
ConvenienceCan be done 24/7 from any location with internet accessRequires travel to the store and must be done during store hours
Product VisibilityLimited ability to see, touch, and inspect products before purchaseAbility to see, touch, and inspect products before purchase
Product VarietyAccess to a wider variety of products from different retailersLimited product variety based on the store’s selection
Price ComparisonEasy to compare prices and products across multiple retailersCan be difficult and time-consuming to compare prices and products across multiple stores
Waiting TimeRequires delivery time, which can vary from a few days to a few weeks depending on the product and locationImmediate product availability
Customer ServiceOnline customer service is available, but may not be as personalized as in-person customer serviceIn-person customer service is available with the ability to receive immediate assistance
Additional CostsDelivery fees, return fees, and possible hidden feesMay require travel expenses and the cost of carrying or shipping heavy items
Risk of FraudHigher risk of online fraud and scamsLower risk of fraud and scams in physical stores

This table is not exhaustive and there may be additional factors that can influence your decision. The choice between shopping in-person at supermarkets and stores or shopping online depends on personal preferences and needs.

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