Why In-Store Shopping Is Good for You

Amy Barczy

| 3 min read

Two women walk down a city street holding shopping bags
Imagine a place where you could walk into a curated shopping experience filled with unique, one-of-a kind treasures. Where a friendly face greets you, ready with suggestions of possible gifts after you’ve been wracking your brain for days for that hard-to-buy-for person.
Where after an hour of shopping you’ve actually gotten in a small workout.
This place exists: it’s called a store.
Online shopping has never been more popular: American consumers spent $513.61 billion online in 2018, up 14.2% from 2017, according to U.S. Department of Commerce estimates. But despite its extreme convenience, online shopping lacks some of the health, social and environmental benefits of shopping in-store.
Not only does online shopping promote sedentary behavior, there’s a physical cost: about 165 billion packages are shipped in the U.S. every year. The cardboard used in those boxes accounts for more than 1 billion trees.
Whereas online shopping requires more sedentary screen time, shopping in a store can provide a real workout. Especially if you’re a bargain hunter, comparing the cost of one item to another between several stores can provide ample opportunity to get your steps in.
Shopping in-person can also provide a boost to your mental health.
While the act of checking off your shopping list does provide a sense of accomplishment and boost of confidence about your ability to tackle the mountain of chores that the holiday season can bring, the social connections you can make while out and about can lighten your mood and help you feel more connected and rooted to your community.
There’s also something visceral about shopping in a store: reacting to displays and products is an experience many crave, to the extent that many people use “retail therapy” or “stress shopping” to calm down. This is backed by science: making purchase decisions reduces residual sadness.
Spending your time and money shopping in person at locally-owned businesses can add additional meaning to your experience. Find a downtown shopping district in your town or nearby that has a vibrant selection of shops. Those small businesses are vital components to the communities in which they are located. For every dollar spent at a small business, about 67 cents stays in your local community.
And there is nothing more immediate than shopping in a store and bringing your item home with you. No more checking the mail or your doorstep expectantly, crossing your fingers that you ordered that must-have toy by the shipping deadline. No rush shipping costs are tacked on to your bill – you get what you pay for.
There’s also the opportunity to touch, feel and try-on items – which can lead to better purchasing decisions, fewer returns and less waste.
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