Online vs in-store: What to expect from different shopping experiences

It’s December and Christmas is right around the corner, and most people haven’t finished their Christmas shopping. They’re frazzled with all the gifts they have to get for their friends and family: a suing kit for grandma, new socks for their brother, it’s overwhelming. Christmas should be enjoyable, not filled with the stress of shopping.

Retail stores and online shopping websites have been at war for years now, but they both do the exact same thing: they give people the choice to shop and buy something if they want to. They’re different, but both have good perks to them.

Senior Tatum Gibson said she doesn’t see much of a difference in either one. Shopping is shopping; it doesn’t matter how it’s done. It’s all the same.

Thousands of retail stores close every year, but thousands more open to try and beat the online competition that they have to face. Even with the rise in popularity of online shopping, more retail stores open and close in the United States every year, according to storeretailers.org.

Getting in the car and going somewhere to shop creates an experience and makes gift buying even more special. Actually being somewhere instead of being in front of a computer means something.

“The one great thing I love about going somewhere to shop is that I get to actually see with my own eyes instead of looking at pictures on a screen. I get to actually feel, touch and hold stuff instead of waiting for it in the mail to be delivered,” Gibson said.

Going into stores to shop feels like a more personalized experience. Getting one-on-one help and having the ability to ask associates questions if needed is a perk online shopping doesn’t have.

“I do like how I can talk and ask questions if I need help with anything, something I can’t do when I’m shopping online,” senior Gabi Ashcroft said.

Since the beginning of Amazon in 1995, online shopping has taken off and more people use the internet to shop rather than buying items in stores. In 2018, over 60 percent of Americans used online shopping when buying gifts for both Christmas and Black Friday, according to ShoppingStatista.com.

Online shopping is bigger and better than ever before, and more people have bought and will continue to buy gifts online this holiday season. Why is it so popular? The oftentimes free shipping is an obvious perk, but online shopping is so convient too.

“I don’t think I’ll stop ordering online. It’s so easy, and I don’t have time to go anywhere, nor do I want to,” Ashcroft said.

A perk of online shopping is longer deals and lower prices. Most items seen in stores can be bought for a lower price somewhere else on another website with better deals and sales.

“Cheap deals and better prices are available online, because products come to you direct from the manufacturer or seller without involving middlemen. Plus, it's easier to compare prices and find a better deal. Many online sites offer discount coupons and rebates, as well,” according to ToughNickel.com.

Both online and in-store shopping have perks and are both great options. Find the one that makes the Christmas season more fun and less stressful.

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