Each year consumers’ buying habits shift further away from traditional in-store shopping, compared to the ever-increasing convenience of online shopping and the e-commerce giants own larger and larger chunks of the market.

Amazon continues to be the dominant online-only retailer with record growth in the past few years while brick-and-mortar stores like Walmart have increased their focus on e-commerce.

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It is estimated that in 2017 1.66 billion people made a purchase online. In the same year, e-retail stores topped out at an incredible 23 trillion dollars of revenue, which is projected to double by 2021

With these impressive facts, one might wonder why billions still choose to shop in-store each year? Is online shopping really quicker, simpler, and more convenient? Why then does massive growth continue for these physical stores that open new locations and see clientele increase each year. Why doesn’t everyone make the digital switch?

  1. Sales, Deals, and Coupons

Every thrifty and careful shopper keeps an eye out for the latest and greatest discounts, mark-downs, and offers. Many shoppers shape their buying decisions around what types of deals can be found, rarely if ever buying anything at the full retail price.

Sales can be found at many online retailers, but usually to a lesser degree than their physical counterparts.

Some significant brick-and-mortar strategies stores involve roping in customers through the advertising of in-store only sales, or the distribution of coupons for on-site redemption.

A walk down the aisle can usually reveal far greater savings than a scroll down the page.

  1. Touching, Testing, and Trying On Humans are visual beings. We enjoy scanning the merchandise, inspecting the colors and details, and imagining how we would look in those new jeans or a top that sit-down mower. 

Much of this can be achieved online, but for the complete shopping experience and the actual ability to judge quality, fit, and feel, we need to engage all of our senses.

One obvious but rather fatal flaw of the online platform is the inability to run the fabric through your fingers, feel the weight of a product in your hand, and especially, try on the products we so desire.

Barring some futuristic developments akin to smell-o-vision, we will simply not be getting the proper sensual experiences associated with shopping online any time soon.

  1. Scams, Frauds, and Deception

While it is usually safe to buy online from a major retailer, there are some dangers consumers face while perusing the page that isn’t of concern to those on the showroom floor.

There are many predators and scammers online that attempt to turn your quest for a new pair of shoes into a theft of your personal information. Some scams involve tricking naive shoppers into thinking they are entering their credit card information on official site when in fact they have been trapped in the web (pun intended) of a malicious operation.

Many elderly shoppers or young children are involved in these false transactions. They can be targeted because of their inexperience with online shopping.

For those who opt for a trip to the mall over a trip to the computer, worry about payment security, fraudulence, or computer viruses are usually not necessary.


Both platforms offer their pros and cons. It is important to know what you want as a consumer and chose the best method for your purchase.

Like the age-old battle of chocolate and vanilla or Coke and Pepsi, there are two passionate sides to this debate fighting over which is unequivocally superior. But, at the end of the day, it just comes down to personal preference.

With all the hype around e-commerce and online retailers, this is simply a critique of their shortcomings and a reminder of why so many of us still love the traditional shopping experience.

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