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Online Shopping vs In-person Shopping

Clothes shopping can be a stressful and time consuming process for many people. For the past hundred years it's been most commonly done by going store to store, but the introduction of the internet changed the game starting a little over a decade ago. Online shopping has become a huge part of keeping up with trends, finding products, and comparing prices. This raises many questions about which is better for both consumers and companies and how each form of shopping will have to adapt to either support or compete with the other.

Online vs. In-Store shopping

images via framepool and BBC


Online Shopping

Almost everyone has shopped online at some point. Whether it be using your phone, tablet, or laptop, online shopping has become a staple in day to day life. Unlike in-store shopping, you don't have to wait in line or put up with large crowds. You also save on gas, time, worrying about store hours, and don't have to deal with aggressive salesmen or angry customers. Plus, some online stores offer more eco-friendly options, refurbished products, and special deals. For many people the convenience of shopping online far outweighs the experience of in-store shopping.

Online Shopping on a Laptop

A low price People are often looking for a bargain, and there's no better way to comparison shop than online. The internet is filled with marketplaces hosting deals, especially for first time customers or loyalty programs like those signing up for email lists. These deals can make online shopping remarkably cheaper than heading to the store and that's highly appealing to the average customer.

Selection and Variety There's no worry about running out of your size before you make it to the store, with online shopping you can see right away what sizes and clothing is available. Most stores also offer a feature to alert you if an out of stock size or item becomes available again. This means you don't have to keep coming back and checking, you'll be informed as soon as they have what you need. Another HUGE benefit to online shopping is the plethora of stores at your fingertips, you can shop at stores you simply cannot get to in person. Although you may be missing out on the experience of being there in the shop, you can still get products from nearly any store within your budget with a few keystrokes.

Woman Online Shopping From Home

Home Sweet Home Don't feel like going out or simply can't make it to the store before closing time? Shopping online is very convenient and flexible whether you just don't want to go out and be in the crowds, or have too many other obligations to make time to get to the store. The convenience of having an entire market right on your fingertips any time of day or night makes online shopping the go-to for busy consumers.


In Store Shopping

There will always be an appeal to in-store shopping, whether it be for the social benefits of a day out or for the instant gratification of having your product in hand right after purchase. Though you may not be able to read reviews to research products or comparison shop with the same ease as online, the ability to talk to someone face to face and receive personal service is something hard to replicate with online shopping. You also have the assurance of trying on the garments you have chosen before purchase and without waiting. Going into a store and handpicking items has a greater emotional impact than purchasing online, which can sometimes feel like you are just checking another chore off your list.

Woman Shopping At a Clothing Store

Try it, touch it, take it

Shopping in store allows consumers to check the quality of their purchases, try the fit and style, and take them home. While you can shop "high end" items online for cheaper prices, you usually cannot guarantee the quality or authenticity of the item. In store shopping allows you to feel what you are buying as well as checking if it is real. You can check the fit and see if it is right for you, as opposed to waiting, and leave the store with your new find in hand. Online stores have not been able to successfully replicate that social aspect of in-store shopping that many people enjoy. A day out with your friends has many intangible benefits that can't be duplicated even if you are shopping together online.

Cash or Debit? When it comes to going to the store, a major benefit is having the option of using cash. Though most people have switched to debit, cash can be easier to use if you are trying to limit spending. This makes in store shopping the more logical approach if you are being careful with your spending. When shopping online, people tend to spend more money due to the ease of access and seemingly good deals. So, even though you can comparison shop a little more efficiently online, going to the store can save you big bucks as long as you don't succumb to other impulse buys on the way to the register.

In Store Clothing Rack

Buyer's remorse? You can bring it back in person! No worries about shipping and reading through return policies, returning to stores is usually an easy process. With a receipt, most stores accept returns within a certain time period and offer either money or store credit back to you. You can walk right in and return an item without having to wait for shipping and processing and have the amount credited back to you that much sooner. It also reduces the rather large environmental footprint that online shipping seems to be leaving. With online shopping, many people order multiples of items with the intent of returning due to the prevalence of free shipping. There has been a lot of attention given recently to the negative impact of all the shipping cartons, fuel, and product that is being wasted due to the rise in online shopping. If consumers are over-buying with the intent of returning after trying everything on at home, how much of that product is then on the mark-down rack and possibly ending up as waste?


Polychrome's marketplace for original print patterns is based entirely online for the convenience of fashion companies and appar​el designers worldwide. Our clients appreciate the fact that they can shop anytime and anywhere and purchased prints are available for immediate download.

Check out our print page to shop from a vast collection of exclusive original prints from our global team of artists and designers!

Below are some of our newest prints for Spring:

from left to right: Dot Floral | Geometry Gradient | Fantasy Brocade | Rice Field | Flower Collage | Spring Pop

How do you shop, do you prefer to go to the store or online? Tell us what kind of shopping you do!


Sources: Retail Dive | Life Wire | Every Dollar | Business | Emcor | Metro | NBC | NY Times | MNN

* We intend no copyright infringement by displaying images from other sources on our site. Unless otherwise noted, all images are the property of their respective owners.

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