Online shopping is starting to replace traditional in-person shopping in many situations. Few stores can get away without an online presence of some sort, because consumers have come to expect the ability to shop from their own homes. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving Thursday, is known in the retail sector as the biggest shopping day of the year But Black Friday has a competitor, thanks to the online shopping revolution. That competitor is Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is the online shopping version of Black Friday, with big bargains that drive consumer spending practices. Cyber Monday is now as important as Black Friday, primarily because online shopping has become more common. However, there are many differences between online and traditional shopping that are important to keep in mind, from the retailer’s and the consumer’s standpoints. For one, online shopping is a completely different user experience than shopping in a store. Second, online shopping does not allow for interaction with the merchandise like traditional shopping does. Finally, online shopping offers access to a greater inventory than shopping in-store. Different user experience, different levels of interaction with merchandise, and different inventory access all have an impact on both consumer and retailer.

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The user experience in an online shopping environment is completely different from that of the traditional store. One of the reasons why the user experience in an online shopping environment is different from that in a traditional store is convenience. A person can wake up and shop for their items in pajamas, or do the same thing at three o’clock in the morning. Traditional shopping requires that the individual get dressed and visit the store during certain hours, and those hours might conflict with work and family. Moreover, the brick-and-mortar store requires driving and parking, which can be a hassle. Online shoppers do not have to deal with their cars to go shopping. Second, the user experience online is relatively private. Except for anonymous user statistics gathering, the online shopping experience entails total privacy for the user. If a person wants to buy sex toys and guns, they can do so without anyone knowing. If that same person bought sex toys and guns in a store, they would be seen by anyone who was out that day.

The online shopping experience and traditional shopping also differs in terms of access to the merchandise. In a store, a person can touch and feel the items. The shopper can try on clothes and shoes to make sure they fit. This is impossible in an online store, which is why “online marketers may joke that Best Buy and other big-box retailers have become the local showroom for Amazon, Zappos and other online-only retailers,” (Sullivan, 2012).

Finally, the online shopping environment offers access to thousands of items that will not be in display at the store due to limited space. A retailer can only display a certain number of items at once, or keep those items in inventory. Online retailers can display more, and store more of those items in the same place because of the lack of worry of aesthetics in a warehouse that consumers will not visit. Therefore, the online shopping environment helps retailers to market their wares. A traditional store limits what consumers can purchase. Moreover, online shopping gives consumers access to multiple retailers at the click of a button, whereas traditional shopping limits competition and choice.

Online shopping will never totally replace traditional shopping, because consumers still like to interact with items and many like the act of shopping itself. However, online shopping offers distinct advantages such as the ability to try on or touch items before making a purchase; and the ability to browse multiple items from different stores.


Sullivan, L. (2012). Online content discovery heightens traditional shopping. Media Post. Retrieved online:

Velasco, S. (2012). Cyber Monday, Black Friday sales strong. Do they matter? The Christian Science Monitor. 27 Nov, 2012. Retrieved online: