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Shopping Online vs. Shopping on the High Street

If you are a spending savvy shopper, you will no doubt be doing a lot of your shopping online. There are obvious advantages to shopping online, you can find great bargains and massive savings but it’s not for everyone.

We have weighed up the pros and cons for shopping online vs shopping in store to help you decide what works best for you.

Shopping in-store



  • Trying on clothes/test build quality – If you are buying clothes, you get the chance to try them on and see what they look like. Things often look different once they are on and different items only suit certain body shapes. You may see something online that you really like but when it arrives and you try it on, it doesn’t look as good. The same goes with other items, in-store you can view the item and decide if you like it.
  • Ask questions – If you have any questions to ask about a product, the sales assistants are on hand to help and offer advice. You don’t get the same customer service online although it is worth mentioning that some websites do have an online chat operator on hand to help.
    Get items straight away – If you are going in-store to shop, you get your items straight away so no waiting around for delivery.
  • Easier to return – If you want to return an item, you simply take it back. If you paid in cash you will get that back straight away.
  • Pay in cash – If you have set aside a certain amount of cash to spend, it’s easier to keep track of the money you are spending. If you want to shop online then it’s harder to do this.


  • Less choice – If you want to buy certain products and a shop doesn’t stock the item, you have the choice to travel to a nearby store, however when shopping online, you have a stores full product range available except for any items that are out pf stock. Some stores offer online exclusives.
  • Impulse buying – When you shop in-store, clever retail tactics lead us to impulse buy things we don’t really need. Whereas when you shop online, you can review your shopping basket cost and remove stuff if you want to reduce spend – less embarrassing than at a till in front of a queue of other shoppers!
  • It takes time – Shopping on the high street takes up a lot of extra time compared to ordering online. Having someone pick up your items for you and sending them straight to your door leaves you more time to do other things.

Shopping online

Online shopping


  • Avoid busy high streets – You don’t have the hassle of walking around busy high streets trying to carry all of your shopping bags. You will especially appreciate not having to navigate your way through crowds on a busy Saturday or during the busy periods like the run up to Christmas.
  • It’s convenient – It’s easy and convenient and you get your shopping delivered straight to your door.
  • Less likely to overspend – You’re more likely to search for the specific items that you need rather than browsing through shelves and rails and picking up items that you don’t need.
  • Compare prices – Shopping online makes it a lot easier to compare prices and shop around for the best deals. You can do this on the high street but you are limited to how many places you can compare. With online shopping there is no limit to how many stores you can compare prices at.
  • No pressure to buy – You won’t feel the pressure to buy from pushy sales assistants. You can always place items in your virtual basket and come back to them at another time.
  • Customer reviews – If you are unsure of a purchase and want to compare items, reading customer reviews can really sway your decision. Don’t rely on product descriptions, find out from someone that has tested it personally.
  • Shop where you want and when you want – This is ideal for those that lead busy lives with not a lot of time left for shopping. You can shop at any hour of the day with a lot more choice of shops.
  • Voucher codes and cashback – Online shoppers can take advantage of online voucher codes and cashback shopping which is not always available to shoppers who prefer to shop in-store.

Browse categories on GetPaidTo to search for the merchants you like to shop at and receive cashback on all of your online shopping.


  • Waiting for delivery – You don’t get the instant gratification of buying a product and having it to hand straight away. You have to wait for your order to be delivered.
  • Perishable items – When you order your supermarket shopping, you don’t have the choice of picking your items therefore you cannot choose your own use by dates. This could mean you receive items that will not last as long.
  • Substitute items – When you order your groceries online, you have the option of receiving substitutes if an item you have ordered is not in stock. This can be a good thing but it can also be quite inconvenient as they are not always that similar to your original item.
  • Delivery costs – Delivery costs vary depending on where you shop but you could compare it to spending money on transport to go to the shops. However if you are ordering from multiple sites, delivery costs could far outweigh one trip to a shopping centre.
  • Returns – Returning items can sometimes be a hassle. Some shops charge you for sending the item back and you have to post it yourself although some couriers do pick up straight from your door.
  • Different measurements – You can easily get confused with measurements when shopping online. For example, when shopping for fruit and veg, you often pick up how much you want when shopping in-store, but buying online you have to specify a weight which can get confusing.

Know your rights!


When shopping on the high street and in-store, there are a few things you should be aware of. Under the Sale of Goods Act, you have a statutory right to return something and get your money back if it’s faulty. However shops are not required by law to offer a returns policy on non-faulty items. If they do have one, they are obliged to honour it. Check in-store or on your receipt for the returns policy.

If you prefer to shop online, make sure you know your rights. The Consumer Contracts Regulations have replaced the Distance Selling Regulations, so here are a few of the key points to help you understand where you stand as a consumer.

  • A trader can no longer charge you for additional items added by a pre ticked box online. This refers to additional items such as insurance or returns labels that were automatically included in your bill unless you unchecked the box. Now you have to tick the box if you would like to add these items to your basket.
  • You can cancel a service contract online 14 days after you enter it. This applies to services such as gym memberships, allowing you to get out of your contract should you change your mind.
  • You should get a refund up to 14 days after the seller receives the goods or you provide proof of postage, whichever is sooner.
  • 14 days is the minimum cancellation period that a retailer has to giver. Some choose to offer longer than this so check the terms and conditions of each individual retailer you shop with.

When shopping online, you don’t have the chance to physically test the goods or ask about certain features and services. Because of this, there is certain information that retailers are expected to provide when selling online.

  • A description of the goods or service, including how long any commitment will last on the part of the consumer.
  • The total price of the goods or service, or the manner in which the price will be calculated if this can’t be determined.
  • Cost of delivery and details of who pays for the cost of returning items if you have a right to cancel and change your mind.
  • Details of any right to cancel – the trader also needs to provide, or make available, a standard cancellation form to make cancelling easy.
  • Information about the seller, including their geographical address and phone number.
  • Information on the compatibility of digital content with hardware and other software is also part of the information traders are obliged to provide.

There are obvious advantage to doing your shopping online, the main one being saving money. Save money on your purchases when you shop with GetPaidTo and earn cashback with any of our merchants.

All offers and promotions were correct at time of posting. Please check the merchant page direct for the latest offers and cashback rates.

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