Comparison and Contrast of Online Shopping versus In-store Shopping

Comparison and Contrast of Online Shopping versus In-store Shopping


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Comparison and Contrast of Online Shopping versus In-store Shopping

In this era of globalization and digital media/internet, many companies have chosen to leverage their operations on the internet with the aim of ensuring ease of product accessibility and enhancing the buyers’ shopping experience. As such, the global market is witnessing a significant growth in online business (i.e. e-commerce). While some organizations have decided to rid themselves completely of physical shops, others have chosen to supplement their physical stores/shops with online stores. According to Alhouti et al., (2015), many companies still experience problems when it comes to choosing between focusing on online shops and focusing on physical shops.  Adequate comprehension of the preference of consumers in relation to online shopping and in-store shopping is significant in ensuring that business leverage their operations on the nature of form of shopping that can attract more sales and increase revenues.

Researchers have made significant efforts in determining the preferences of consumers when it comes to choosing between in-store and online shopping. Asraar (2015) points out that despite the hype around online shopping and e-commerce, buyers still prefer shopping in physical stores. Changchit et al., (2014) conducted study to assist retailers to better comprehend consumers preferences, the researchers surveyed more than 1000 customers concerning their habits and perceptions around retail shopping. The findings of this study suggested that shopping trends/patterns are favoring the brick-and-mortar framework despite opinions/views that the increase of e-retailers would negative affect the operations of physical retail stores. The researchers established that shoppers/consumers often do their discovery or shopping online then move into the in-physical stores to be assisted with their ultimate purchase decisions. In relation to this Balzquez et al., (2014), argue that businesses should employ/use a cross-channel approach that converts an original inquiry into a high value/worth/quality, ins-store experience. While in the store, retailers should grant consumers prompt service with a qualified store associate.

Balzquez et al., (2014) also established that customers value brick & mortar over online stores. In this study, the researchers noted that more than 70% of buyer would go for a brick & mortar Amazon, as opposed to Asraar (2015) also notes that buying in the physical store drives the volume of purchases, as 90% of buyers have a higher likelihood of buying when assisted by an informed associate. In the same study, the researcher established that making purchases in the physical store spans generations, as 92% of the millennial generation planned to do their shopping in in-stores as always or more that they did in the previous year (i.e. 2014). Asraar (2015) also noted that purchases associated with mobile shops is slow to development/grow since only 13% of the participants had made their purchases using a mobile gadget/device.

Weishenget al., (2014) also support the argument that businesses should bridge digital connections with brick & mortar contacts/ connections/interactions, with novel technologies along process changes of businesses. The researchers established that there was a retail convergence of physical retailing and digital retailing. Traditional/conventional e-retailers are setting up brick & mortar locations because they have adequate comprehension of the highly persons services they can provide in a store. As a result, conventional/traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are establishing more persona, as well as digital-savvy experiences within the store to serve the current shoppers in a better way. Weisheng et al., (2014) also identified certain advantages of in-store shopping. These benefits include getting to touch all the goods, limited time spent wading through/via convenient, shipping alternatives, creating bonding experiences while shopping with friends.

Beauchamp et al. (2010) that 78% of buyers prefer shopping in physical stores. In this study, the researchers noted that while consumers shop at an average of 7.5 time every month in physical stores, the same buyers do their shopping on virtual stores at an average of 2.2 times every month. This study also established that buyers spend more income, as they shop in physical stores than they do while shopping in online stores.

Dubas et al., (2015) came up with a finding that contradicts the findings of the above-mentioned researchers. According to Dubas et al ., (2015), while brick & mortar stores such as Target and Walmart are promoting door-buster deals to draw buyers to their aisles, many consumers preferring to exploit the ease and item/product variety available on online shopping. The benefits of online shopping such as convenient skirting of international trade embargoes, exposure to reviews about products, lack of limitation on the amount of bulky items to be packed inside a buyer’s car, and inability to walk around (Dubas et al. 2015). For example, in 2013, online retail sort purchase amounted to 4263 billion (i.e. 6% of the entire/overall retail sales), while physical store purchases amounted to $4.3 trillion (i.e. 94% of the overall retail store sales) (Dubas et al. 2015). Nevertheless, when it comes to the aspect of growth, e-commerce was established to register higher growth than in-store. For instance, while e-commerce registered a growth 17%, in-store reported a growth of just 3.5% (Dubas et al. 2015). However, this observation was noted to be a superficial one because the 17% of e-commerce growth only accounted for $38 billion, while the 3.5% growth associated with in-store represented for $144 billion (Dubas et al. 2015). Asraar (2015) also established that online retailers with direct returns/delivery only acquired a 77% -net sales, while retailers offering in-store return alternative from online buying/purchasing can receive up to 95% net sales. As such, the researchers concluded that a mixed approach was suitable for retailers/businesses.

 In summary, several issues can be noted concerning the above literature. The first observation is that online shopping and physical store shopping have certain benefits. it can also be noted that while, many buyers prefer shopping in physical store (i.e. brick-and-mortar), the growth of e-commerce is still higher than that of physical store locations. It can also be noted that researchers seem to provide differing views on the form of shopping that can best suit businesses/organizations between the two (i.e. online shopping and in-store shopping). However, researchers seem embrace the idea of an integrated approach that combines online shopping and in-store shopping.

Research Aims

Considering the existing literature, it can be noted that retailers still face problems selecting the best shopping format for their businesses. According to Asraar (2015), many business still lack a clear direction when it comes to choosing between selling their products online or physically. The complexity involved in selecting between online and physical stores on the part of businesses/retailers is attributed to the benefits/competitive benefits associated with each of the two shopping formats. Dawes (2014) asserts that having a suitable shopping format offers a platform on which businesses  can generate more revenues by providing the shopping experiences that meets the interests and preferences of buyers. As such, there is a significant need for retailers/business to have a clear comprehension of the shopping format (i.e. between online shopping or in-store shopping) that can draw more consumers to their premises and contribute to ore revenue generation. This research will investigate the benefits and disadvantages of the online and physical store, with the aim of providing an insight into the model or approach that businesses should embrace when selling their products. Such an undertaking will contribute largely to the literature on the format of shopping that can best suit the needs of retailers. The aims of this study are listed below:

Primary Research Aim

·         Investigating the benefits and disadvantages of the online and physical store, with the aim of providing an insight into the model or approach that businesses should embrace when selling their products

Secondary Research Aims

·         Investigate the benefits of online shopping to consumers

·         Examine the disadvantages of online shopping to customers

·         Investigate the benefits of in-store or brick-and-mortar shopping to buyers

·         Investigate the disadvantages of online shopping to consumers

·         Examine the preferences of buyers when it comes to choosing between online shopping and in-store shopping

Research Plan

General Methodology

Research Design

Lamb (2013) asserts that a well-established study design enables researchers to have a clear identification of the research issue or problem. A suitable research design also enhances the processes of data description and evaluation. This qualitative research will use the action research design to accomplish its goals/objectives. According to Bailey (2014), a qualitative design of research enables the research to address social issues such as workers’ strikes, labor shortages, as well as issues concerning individual’s perception. This study focuses on the perception of consumers in relation to the benefits and disadvantages offered by online shopping and in-store shopping. As such, qualitative research design will be appropriate.

Action research design will be employed in the study. Bailey (2014) informs that actions research design often adheres to a characteristic cycle, which involves the implementation of an exploratory standpoint/position/stance. Lamb (2013) adds that action research design aims at attaining pragmatic and solution-driven results. This study aims at identifying a suitable approach that retailers can embrace/adopt/implement when it comes to choosing the business format (i.e. online shopping or in-store shopping that can enable them to attract many consumers to their premises and yield more gains. As such, the employment of the action research design will be appropriate.

Sample Selection

According to Bailey (2014), effective and efficient sample selection is essential for a excellent attainment of study goals. As such, researchers should ensure that they employ suitable technique/mechanisms of data selection in their research. The element of biasness happens to be among the critical factors that should be taken into consideration during the selection of a technique for sample selection. In relation to this, random sampling will be employed as the study’s sample section method/mechanism/technique. This sampling technique offers benefits such as appropriate representation of the study population, provision of equal chances of taking part in the study to all individuals, generalizability of the findings,  and fairness n the selection so sample.




Data Collection Technique/Tools

Interviews, particularly personal or one-one interviews, will be employed in collecting data from respondents. Structured, one-on-one interview eliminates the chances of a participant’s responses being influenced by the response of other respondents. Besides, interviews enable researchers to acquire firsthand information. As such, these benefits will contribute to the reliability and validity of the study’s findings.

Data Analysis technique

According to Lamb (2013), qualitative research, especially those using interviews to in data collection, can yield enormous volumes of data, which can subject the researcher to the complexity of data analysis/evaluation. As such, a system of data coding that reduce the large quantities of data into manageable portions is required. Content analysis happens to be a suitable option for this task. According to Bailey (2014), content analysis contributes largely to the coding and labeling of enormous volumes of data, as it categorizes data into various. Therefore, the employment of content analysis in this study will be beneficial.

Ethical Considerations

Lamb (2013) asserts that adherence to ethical standards in a study contributes largely the research’s credibility. In studies, ethical matters often arise relation to the dimensions of privacy, safety, and confidentiality. This study will address these issues in many ways. First, the consent of respondents will be sought prior to engaging the in the study. This goal will be accomplished by first explaining the purpose of the research to the participants, as well as its benefits to them and to the businesses/society Second, the anonymity of the participants will also be maintained by not disclosing their names. Third, data will not be leaked tor exposed to third parties, and the analysis of data will be performed in manner that does not uncover the identities of participants.

Research Questions

1.      What are the benefits of online shopping to consumers

2.      What are the disadvantages of online shopping to customers

3.      What are the benefits of in-store or brick-and-mortar shopping to buyers

4.      What are the disadvantages of online shopping to consumers

5.      What are the preferences of buyers when it comes to choosing between online shopping and in-store shopping

Stages in Research

According to Lamb (203), the process of research offers an individual the necessary skills and foundations in locating data/information to complete the research in an effective manner. The researcher will embrace certain measures to ensure that the research is accomplished in an effective way. Since the stages of topic identification and topic statement development have been completed. The researcher will proceed to add more literature on the issue under investigation then proceed to data collection, which will involve four stages. First, the researcher will have to seek the consent of the relevant authority in conducting the research (i.e. obtaining the consent forms). Second, the researcher will have to choose a convenient location for conducting the interviews prior to the day of interviewing. Third, the researcher will have to make prior arrangement with the respondents about their attendance of the interviews to avoid issues of delays or absenteeism. Participants who will not manage to make it to the interview venue will have to be interviewed over the phone. Besides, prior notice will also be required concerning any case of absenteeism. Fourth, the researcher will then issue the consent forms to participants then proceed to data collection. The researcher will then analyze the data and present the findings in a word document.

Scope and Problems

This study focuses on the issues associated with online and in-store shopping, particularly the benefits, disadvantages, and consumers’ perceptions about the tow formats of doing business (i.e. online shopping and brick& mortar format). The study will draw on the previous literature of other researchers on the same issue, and relate its findings to this literature. Some of the problems that may be encountered during the research are lack of cooperation from participants and cases of absenteeism. These issues will addressed by explaining the benefits of the research tot eh participants and providing for over-the-phone interviews for absent respondents.

Resources Required

Since the interviews will be structured, the predetermined questions will have to be printed. The researcher will also require a voice recorder to capture audio response from participants.

Time Lines

Activity Date
Literature Surveys 15th April to 22nd April
Data collection 22nd April to 14th May
Production 15th May to 22nd May
Review 23rd May to 31st May
Analysis 1st June to 7th June
Reporting 8th June
Chapter and thesis writing 9th June to 23rd June
Thesis submission date 4th June


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Alhouti, S., Gillespie, E. A., Chang, W., & Davis, L. (2015).The Thin Line between Love and Hate of Attention: The Customer Shopping Experience. Journal of Marketing Theory & Practice, 415-433.

Bailey, F. (2014). The Origin and Success of Qualitative Research. International Journal of Market Research, 56(2), 167-184

Beauchamp, M., B., & Ponder, N. (2010). Perceptions of Retail Convenience for In-Store and Online Shoppers. Marketing Management Journal, 2091), 49-65.

Blázquez, M. (2014). Fashion Shopping in Multichannel Retail: The Role of Technology in Enhancing the Customer Experience. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 18(4), 97-116.

Changchit, C., Cutshall, R., & Tzong-Ru, L. (2014). Shopping Preference: A Comparative Study of American and Taiwanese Perceptions. Journal of International Technology & Information Management, 2391), 83-103.

Dawes, J., & Nenycz-Thiel, M. (2014).Comparing Retailer Purchase Patterns and Brand Metrics for In-store and Online grocery Purchasing. Journal of Marketing Management, 30(3/4), 364-382.

Dubas, K. M., Hershey, L., & Dubas, S. M. (2015). An Evaluation of The Walk-In and Online Counterparts of The Leading U.S Stores. Academy of Marketing Studies Journal, 1991), 166-176.

Lamb, D. (2013). Research in the First Person: Reflection on the Research Experience Using a Research Journal. Market & Social Research, 21(2), 32-39.

Weisheng C., Hyung-Hoon, K., Young-Ae, L., & Doyeon, W. (2014). Application of a Modified Internet Shopper Lifestyle Scale to Taiwanese College-Age Sporting Goods Consumers. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 42(8), 1245-1256.



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