[meta_title]-Online Versus In-Store Shopping: The Effect On The Environment-Mianzi-bamboo-home-décor-pendant-lamps

Online Versus In-Store Shopping: The Effect On The Environment

The process of shopping has changed within the last decade with the addition of eCommerce capabilities. Since the rise of internet-based e-commerce websites, the growth of online shopping has been exponential, with a huge increase in the number of consumers choosing to buy online rather than in-store. Many traditional retailers have also followed suit, with most shops now having a dedicated e-commerce website from which consumers can make online purchases, from high street brands to charities. Even brands which no longer exist on the high street are often available online.

Online Shopping

Internet, digitalization, and access to technology have transformed contemporary consumption patterns and habits. Shopping online is one of those innovations that served to make life more comfortable and convenient. A good many of the tech innovations you enjoy today, including smartphones, international planes, and the Internet, all facilitate a seamless, enjoyable shopping experience. Though in-store shopping has some unique advantages, online retailers are quickly finding ways to accommodate those features.

1. When a customer is shopping online, there is often the opportunity to read reviews from people who have previously purchased the very item they are looking at. It is even possible to filter out any products with poor ratings and exclude them from consideration altogether.

2. Online shopping offers the consumer the ability to target exactly what they are looking for and focus their shopping. This not only saves time but also helps to prevent unnecessary purchasing.

3. Online platforms are not limited by physical limitations which allows them to provide a limitless amount of options to their customer in terms of product specifications, quality, and design.

4. Online retailers are understanding and aware of the complexities that come with online shopping, and many are more than willing to demonstrate their devotion to allowing the customer to shop without having to compromise on any in-store shopping conveniences. Generous return and exchange policies, not being bound by operating hours, no visible traffic or crowds are some of the benefits that online shoppers reap.

In-store Shopping

There are some ways in which in-store shopping offers consumers things that some online retailers simply cannot. When you shop in a brick-and-mortar store, you can experience the products more tangibly - you can see firsthand if it's the right fit and spend money wisely. Additionally, a shopper in a rush may find that getting the product delivered from online shopping is going to take too long, and they need a product available the same day.

“According to Statista data, in 2019, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to 3.53 trillion US dollars, and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to 6.54 trillion US dollars in 2022. Considering some useful statistics on online shopping vs in-store shopping in the US, 81% of all Americans prefer to do their shopping online.

Ten years ago, in-store shopping had a big lead financially. Today, that lead has reduced drastically. With more tweaks to the retail and e-commerce system taking place every day, it is evident that online shopping might have a financial edge in the years to come.”

Which Type of Shopping Produces More Carbon Emissions?

As environmental concerns come to the forefront, some people may be wondering which type of shopping is better for the environment. Are more carbon emissions generated by a trip to the store or purchasing items online and having them shipped to you?

The answer is…… drumroll…… It depends as there are a lot of variables that can change the outcome.

For example, in-store shopping produces emissions through several avenues. Energy is required to run the establishment, plus the products need to be transported to the store and then to the customer’s location. For a single product, a customer makes a trip to a store, sometimes several trips, thus emitting a lot of carbon emission. On the flip side, if one orders online, the customer doesn’t have to drive anywhere or even take public transportation. It will be placed on a delivery truck that will be making deliveries to various other locations along the way, lowering the carbon emissions of its journey.

Wherever your latest purchase comes from, transport from the store or warehouse to home likely dominates the delivery footprint. Online Shopping also causes a shipping footprint. The overlap of shipping several items to a specific location reduces the overall carbon emissions, as several products are home-delivered in one shipping.

How can we shop online more sustainably?

​​Online shopping is here to stay. It is quick, easy, and more convenient than physical shopping. To shop online sustainably, both the online retailer and customer must make eco-conscious decisions. As a brand, implementing sustainability improving measures and steering consumers toward sustainable practices become quite significant. There is a drastic need to focus on decreasing the shipping footprint. Flat Packaging and lightweight products should be favored. As a customer, we need to be more aware too to realize the impact of our single purchase and the footprint it will leave on the planet.

Back to blog

Leave a comment