Most consumers browse online before they go into retail stores, regardless of where they eventually buy. Retail e-commerce sales increased more than 14 percent over the past year compared with just a 1.6 percent increase in total retail sales, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But that doesn’t mean shoppers are abandoning brick-and-mortar stores.
Considering that e-commerce accounts for just 7 percent of total retail sales, most consumers are still visiting stores rather than websites to make their purchases. In several ways, it pays to know what not to buy online. Going to a store can be a smart way to ensure you’re getting what you’re paying for, negotiate a better deal with the salesperson, or avoid hefty shipping charges.
But some purchases are better made online because you can get a much lower price than at a brick-and-mortar retailer — and you can save yourself the time and hassle of going to the store. Here are the best and worst things to buy online.