Shopping online vs in store – the debate.

Written by Tracey Davies on 12 November 2014

It wasn’t too long ago that a bit of retail therapy meant heading to your nearest shops for a day browsing the latest trends.

Now you can indulge yourself with the click of a finger, as the internet age has taken over.

But when it comes to our weekly shopping, the vast majority of us still prefer to get in our car and drive to the supermarket to buy our groceries, with around only five per cent of us choosing to shop online. But when it comes to shopping online vs shopping in store – which is better?

Andy Field is a father to three young children and prefers to shop online.

He said: “Shopping online helps you stick to a list so you’re not as tempted by hasty purchases. I find it much easier to see any offers as they’re normally listed in one place and you’re still able to use your loyalty/reward cards and vouchers. But above all, it saves time. Working fulltime and having three small children, time is precious.”

Hayley Wallington started shopping online after getting money off her first shop.

“We were enticed by a book of vouchers we received through the post that gave us £15 off our first shop,” she said. “We were so impressed as it was effortless and the shopping got delivered to our door. We stuck with it and we now shop online every week. We bought a delivery pass for £45 which lasts for six months. This makes delivery about £2 per week – much cheaper than the fuel to drive into town.”

However they have found some downsides.

“You can’t handpick your own stuff,” said Andy. “If I was shopping in store, I would normally try and get items with more than one day until the expiry date, and you can’t guarantee this with online shopping. I would also prefer to pick my own fruit and vegetables. There’s also no access to some real bargains such as reduced items. However I still think the advantages of shopping online far outweigh the negatives.

Hayley agrees: “Ultimately it saves time and money. We’ll never go back to the hassle of going in to town at the weekend to do the weekly shop.”

Tom Maplethorpe shops at his local supermarket once a week and is happy to spend a couple of hours browsing the aisles.

He said: “I look out more for offers on what I want or similar substitute’s in store that I wouldn’t bother searching for online – the convenience of a cheaper alternative next to what I want always helps.

“Shopping in store does take time, but I don’t really mind – it’s only a few miles away from home and I go on a Sunday morning when it’s quiet. My store also has a ‘scan and shop’ function, so I can track how much I’m spending as I go.  

“As it’s a short trip, I don’t see why I’d bother paying the delivery charge you get with online shopping. Also there’s a bit more flexibility when you shop in store – I can go when I like, as opposed to being tied to a time waiting for your delivery to arrive.

“It’s not as if I haven’t tried online shopping. But there were too many instances when they didn’t have a product I wanted, but you don’t know until it’s delivered. Shopping in store gives you the chance to find an alternative – maybe even at another store, which I’d have to go out for anyway if they didn’t deliver it from the online shop.”  

So whether you agree with Tom, Hayley or Andy, we’d love to hear how and why you do your weekly shop!

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This article was checked and deemed to be correct as at the above publication date, but please be aware that some things may have changed between then and now. So please don't rely on any of this information as a statement of fact, especially if the article was published some time ago.

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