In some ways — and on some days — online shopping feels like the best thing that’s ever happened to us as a society. No longer must we fight for parking, trudge through the mall and spend hours in dressing rooms. Now, we can fill a virtual cart, apply online discount codes and take advantage of free shipping to get what we want with the click of a button.
There’s pretty much no way online shopping will ever disappear, but there’s an argument to be made for the value of good, old-fashioned in-store shopping. In fact, there are plenty of reasons why you should head to a brick-and-mortar store next time you need something. Here are five of those reasons:
1. It’s Eco-Friendlier
In most cases, your online purchase will travel from a warehouse to you. Not only does this journey incur fuel costs, but it requires plenty of packaging, too. Cardboard boxes, plastic wrap, packing peanuts, Styrofoam, the list goes on. All of these materials keep your purchase safe and secure, but they create waste. If you think about the fact that the latter can take at least 500 years to decompose in a landfill, well, you realize you create long-term waste when you buy online.
Shopping in-store cuts down on all that, though. For starters, you’re likely to drive a reasonable distance to pick up the things you need, thus reducing the amount of fuel required to get your items to you. On top of that, you can bring your own reusable bags to cut down on the packaging needed to bring your purchases home.
2. You Can See Things In Person
An online retailer isn’t going to share a bad picture of their inventory. Whether it’s a perfectly staged piece of furniture or a to-die-for cocktail dress, it will be accessorized, lit and photographed in a way that makes it look like something you need.
However, seeing these products in person can help you gain a bit more perspective. Simply reaching out and touching a piece of fabric can help you determine if you want to buy something — it might be itchy, heavy, thin or gloriously perfect, but you can’t have that sensory experience online. The same goes for fit, color, scent and comfort — these are all aspects much better tested in person.
3. It’s a Social Activity
When’s the last time you went on a shopping trip with your friends? And, no, we’re not talking about browsing the ASOS app while you all watch The Bachelor together. One of the great joys of hitting the mall, the outlets or the nearest big-box store is bringing along a buddy. You can chat and catch up while you browse, and you can help each other decide what items are must-haves — hopefully, your chosen pal gives good advice.
Spending this quality time benefits you in so many ways. This is especially true if your schedule is otherwise busy — maintaining your social life will leave you happier, more grounded and refreshed by the time Monday rolls around. So, this weekend, grab a friend, go shopping and see how much better you feel.
4. Sometimes There’s a Retail Experience
You might assume that millennials — today’s generation of young adults if you happen to be unfamiliar — are allegiant to online shopping. However, a look into their shopping preferences found that they prefer the in-person shop to the virtual one.
One big reason for their traditional shopping styles was the retail experience. There are plenty of events that happen in-store only, and these opportunities draw in millennials. It could be something as simple as a free sample of make-up or a wine tasting. Or, a shop might invite a celebrity to appear for a book signing. These represent opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to retail experiences, but they show what you miss out on if you shop from the confines of your own home.
5. Patience Isn’t Always a Virtue
Let’s face it — the main drawback of online shopping is the shipping. For one thing, you might have to pay to have items delivered to your house. On top of that, you might have to fork over even more money to return them if they don’t work. So, become very familiar with company policy before you buy anything about which you’re not 100 percent sure.
Another huge drawback is the fact you have to wait for your purchases to arrive — sometimes, it could take days or weeks. Depending on how urgently you need something, this schedule won’t cut it. In-person shopping gives you the chance to walk away with your purchase right then and there, which is a time-effective alternative to shipping and waiting.
Not all purchases are created equal, and the same goes for shopping trips. If you’re feeling an online haul today, so be it — but don’t forget the virtues of in-store shopping, too. After all, these are just five of the many reasons why you should visit brick-and-mortar stores more often. What other positive aspects will you uncover on your next shopping trip? You’ll only know when you go.