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A Comparison and Contrast Between Shopping Online and Traditional Shopping

Since time immemorial, shopping has been an integral part of human life. Over time, technological advancements have brought changes in the way people do their shopping. Notably, the advent of online shopping has paved way for an alternative mode of shopping from the traditional shopping and has been embraced globally. This paper compares and contrasts shopping online with traditional shopping.

Traditional shopping refers to the activity in which consumers purchase goods and services by physically visiting a given seller or store. When it comes to purchasing daily necessities like groceries, traditional shopping is considered an essential (Aryani et al., 2021). On the other hand, online shopping is the process of purchasing goods over the internet with the use of internet-enabled devices such as phones and computers. Traditional shopping methods have been in use for ages. It is the most common practice that people use to purchase products. Online shopping is, on the other hand, more recent practice of shopping. It is, however, considered by many, especially those in urban set-ups as the most convenient way of shopping (Aryani et al., 2021).

Both traditional and online shopping methods offer a variety of stores to choose from. Most, if not all, physical stores available, have corresponding online stores that offer the same products. Like traditional stores, online stores offer a variety of items to pick from. Specialty stores, retailers and whole sellers can be found online. Both shopping methods give similar deals and offers in their stores to their customers. They both offer seasonal sales, end of season sales, and stock clearance sales. The promotions from both traditional and online stores are usually offered at similar times of the month. Most traditional and online stores also offer return policies to their customers. Refund or exchange of a product is typically allowed upon customers request for defective or undesired items.

In spite of the similarities between online and traditional shopping, the differences are plenty. When making an online purchase, a customer is unable to touch, feel, smell or even try out a product they are purchasing. A customer is therefore unable to effectively asses and determine the quality of a product. This may affect a customer’s decision to purchase an item, especially for those items that may require one to try them out like shoes and clothes. This is, however, not the case with traditional shopping where one gets to see, examine, feel, touch, smell and even try out a product then make payment upon satisfaction (Daroch et al., 2021).

Online shopping is handier, time-saving, and more convenient as compared to traditional shopping. One is able to go through thousands of items and do comparisons, check for offers and ultimately make a purchase within minutes at the comfort of their seat at any time. This, however, is not possible in traditional stores since one has to physically visit the store to make a purchase. Some traditional stores also have operational hours which, with increasingly busy lifestyles, may turn out to be inconveniencing to some customers.

Online shopping may require one to give out their details for delivery as well as payment methods and contact details which may pose security threats. This is not the case with traditional shopping where one walks in and walks out with their purchased item without giving out any of their details. Moreover, when doing online shopping, one needs to factor in the time taken to deliver the item, which may at times take longer than desired, unlike in traditional stores where one walks out with the item upon payment.

Overall, both online and traditional shopping have similarities and differences as well as advantages and disadvantages. This largely influences the customer’s decision on which method to use in doing their shopping. Some aspects of both methods of shopping may be a disadvantage to some people, while being beneficial to others, as in the case of knowledge of computers for older generations. The preference and benefits are, thus, more personal than communal.


Aryani, D. N., Nair, R. K., Hoo, D. X. Y., Hung, D. K. M., Lim, D. H. R., Chandran, D. A. R., Chew, W. P., & Desai, A. (2021). A Study on Consumer Behaviour: Transition from Traditional Shopping to Online Shopping During the COVID-19 Pandemic. International Journal of Applied Business and International Management6(2), 81–95.

Daroch, B., Nagrath, G., & Gupta, A. (2021). A study on factors limiting online shopping behaviour of consumers. Rajagiri Management Journal15(1), 39–52.


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