Buy Stationery Online South Africa – Benefits of Shopping Online Vs In-Store

Buy Stationery Online South Africa – Benefits of Shopping Online Vs In-Store

The internet can be a great resource for shoppers looking to expand their choices of products to buy and an invaluable way for saving money – and time. Online stores are highly competitive not only with other online stores, but also with traditional, store-based competitors. Price-comparison websites make deal hunting even easier, and also help guide shoppers to online stores with the best reputations. The advantages of shopping in-store include stores offering no shipping charges and free ship-to-store charges, as well as the “human experience” many of us still thrive on.

Benefits of Shopping Online

1)      No more carrying tons of bags home

Staggering home and up flights of stairs, laden with 10 jam-packed shopping bags is a pain – especially when they cost 50c each. Shop online, get them delivered (free when ordering over R500 with Waltons) and have a bag-free shop.

2)      No more contending with the kids to behave or put down the R500 toy they want

Parent will know the struggle of contending with an adamant toddler and not feeling like a terrible person for doing so. Shop online, eliminate this issue.

3)      It’s easy to return things

Refunds are your friend. Yes, refunds are possible through in-store purchases, but why go through the hassle when an online return is as easy as clicking your mouse a few times.

4)      It can be cheaper than shopping in store

Rather than traipse from one end of the mall to the other, shopping online means you can hunt for the cheapest deals without leaving the comfort of your home. It might take a little longer online, but you’ll be able to purchase your item happy in the knowledge you paid the best price.

5)      Save on specials

Many stores (such as Waltons) employ both methods of retail – they have physical stores country-wide, as well as their online portal. Sometimes, specials are limited to online-only deals, so being “on the ball” and cashing in on online savings is definite advantage over in-store shopping.

Shopping for Stationery Online vs In Store – Pros and Cons and Winners of Each

1)      Who Can Buy - How Soon Do You Need It?

Shopping Stationery Online: Most likely, you'll need a credit card, checking account, or some sort of online financing option. If you don’t have access to this, it immediately takes the option of online shopping away.

Shopping Stationery In-Store: The easiest place to purchase products if you have the money. All you need is a way to get there and means to take your shopping home. 

Winner: Shopping Stationery Online (if you have a credit card) AND retail (if you don’t)

2)      Product Selection and Availability

Shopping Stationery Online: Every make and model is at your fingertips without having to drive anywhere to find it. Don't see your favourite set of gel-pens at this store? Browse and navigate to another. The only drawback is you can't test the product beforehand unless you find it at a retail store near you, but you can read product reviews, user opinions, and manufacturer specs with minimal exertion. Most reputable sites make aware of the availability of each item.

Shopping Stationery In-Store: Limited to only products it sells at the local level, but you can test your new office chair (LINK) in-person before buying it. Depending on store size, selection may be limited, but availability is almost always certain.

Winner: Shopping Stationery Online!

3)      Base Price

Shopping Stationery Online: Generally, online seller’s enjoy lower prices because they don't have the overhead of renting a shop in a mall, electricity bills and a staff complement. There are even web sites (such as ourselves, Waltons) that offer free delivery if you meet a minimum purchase requirement, which could save even more money.

Shopping Stationery In-Store: In order to compete with online purchasing, retail outlets are slashing prices all around. Paired with a coupon or special 'in store' discount, prices might get as low as some online sellers. In addition, many retail outlets resell returned items for even lower prices.

Winner: Shopping Stationery Online!

4)      Taxes, Shipping, and Delivery

Shopping Stationery Online: Depending on where you live and what store you buy from, you might not have to pay a sales tax. Shipping is a different story. Some stores don't charge shipping, while others do charge, which might drive the final cost of the product up. (Good to know: we offer free shipping to major centres on orders over R500!)

Shopping Stationery In-Store: You will pay VAT at a retail outlet, and there won't be any shipping charges. However, most stores will charge a fee to deliver your new office chair (if you choose) or offer free delivery. If they charge for delivery, try to get the fee waived.

Winner: Shopping Stationery Online (save with Waltons on R500 online orders)

5)      Customer Service and Warranty - Returns, Exchanges, Repairs

Shopping Stationery Online: This is a sticky point with online purchasing. While most excel in servicing the customer, there's also a negative stigma associated with online sellers. At times, consumers are charged restocking fees, have to pay for shipping if sending the item to be fixed through warranty, or buy the item with a 'no return' clause in the sale. Though, with some warranties, the consumer will get a replacement model temporarily or permanently depending on the issue. Customer service is sometimes hard to contact, and there's usually no storefront to voice a grievance in person.

Shopping Stationery In-Store: With a receipt, modern retail outlets are easy to deal with when returning, exchanging, and using the warranty. Customer service is usually driven to retain your business by any means necessary, even if it means taking one on the chin every now and then. To be on the safe side, read their return/exchange policy before buying.

Winner: Shopping Stationery In-Store

6)      Security

Shopping Stationery Online: While some people think buying stuff online means your credit information is there for the grabbing, it just isn't true anymore. Most online retailers use some sort of encryption and are as secure as banking sites. Sure, there's a risk, but no more than buying in a store. Read user opinions, check their security license (websites should start with https:// - indicating a safe site), and you'll be fine.

Shopping Stationery In-Store: What's written for online security goes for retail security. For the most part, your information will remain private, but there's always the rare case of identity theft at some level.

Winner: Shopping Stationery In-Store AND Online

7)      Where to Buy

Buy online if you are looking for the best possible deal. Even with shipping charges, most online prices are lower. While retail can't compete across the board with prices, it has the advantage in customer service. If meeting the salesperson, feeling a sense of community, and security knowing you can walk into the store at any time are important - buy at a retail outlet.

Rea our policy on returning items here:

Enjoy shopping both online and in-store at Waltons!