Why shop online vs. local businesses?

Sites like Amazon and Ebay may have been early pioneers in the shopping online market; however, nowadays people can buy almost anything online from a huge range of businesses and companies. In fact, nearly every major brick and mortar store also has an online website for customer convenience. Nevertheless, many people are still somewhat hesitant to enter the world of online shopping. So here are a few things to consider.

The main advantage of shopping online versus relying on local businesses is simply convenience. People are busier than ever and it's getting harder and harder for them to step away from the office for a couple of hours in the afternoon to go shopping for their speciality items. Yet, many small, local businesses keep even shorter hours than chain stores making it ever harder to get in during business hours. The biggest advantage of online shopping is that it can be done on your schedule. You can buy your goods before work, after work, or in the middle of the night if you choose to. What’s more, shopping online is simply faster than driving or walking over to a local business, that means you can even knock it out in the middle of the day on a short five or ten minute break if necessary.

Another huge advantage of online shopping is variety and availability. Depending on what you're looking for and where you live there simply may not be any local business that carry the item you need. Even if they do have one or two options, it's very often only one or two options. Online this isn't nearly as big a problem because the world is at your fingertips and you can find almost anything.

Cost is another factor when choosing whether to shop online or at local businesses. For standard brick and mortar stores the overhead is much higher. They have to not only pay for the item, but they also have to pay for the physical space for their store, the staff to help you, and of course all of the utilities. These costs are greatly reduced or even completely eliminated for many online vendors. This means that with lower overhead they can afford to lower the prices. Many online sites even offer free shipping or other proportionals.

One major reason people cite for shopping at a local business rather than an online store is the turnaround time. However, for custom made items the turnaround time is often about the same or even briefer when shopping online. For harder to find goods that need to be special ordered by the local business the turnaround time once again becomes about the same or even longer with a local business.

Of course we're not trying to stop people from supporting the stores in their local community. We also realize that there is no substitute for face to face human interaction. Nevertheless, there are a ton of reasons why shopping online offers benefits in many instances. Both forms of shopping are here to stay and it's the consumers who benefit the most!

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