Pros and Cons of Shopping at Wal Mart Online

Wal-Mart is a popular shopping venue, with a reputation for low costs on commonly used items, ranging from health and beauty products, to sporting goods, to electronics.  In the last decade, as many brick and mortar retailers have developed their online enterprise, Wal-Mart has kept pace, providing their savings in both venues.   There are some definite advantages to shopping online, through Walmart.com, though there are occasions on which brick and mortar shopping is the better choice.

• Organization

The Wal-Mart website is well organized, and easy to navigate.  It is easy to find products by category and type, or to type a search term, and check the entire site for results.  Further, results provide the option of locating a product locally, which allows you to decide on an online purchase, verses in store.  Sorting is available, so that search results can be ordered by price, ratings, or popularity as bestsellers.  Product reviews by customers make it easy to check out the reception a product has. 

• Variety

Wal-Mart online shopping offers many of the same products that are found in the retail stores, but often, there is an even greater selection via the web.  Whether you are looking for portable basketball goals for your son, a popular toy for a birthday gift, or a selection of linens and towels for a going away to college gift, you will usually find a great selection on the Wal-Mart website. 

• Sales


Clearances and other sales are often available through Walmart.com.  Sometimes, these are comparable to those in the stores, but occasionally, the online deals are just a little bit better.  End of the season clearances are a great way to find savings on everything from patio furniture, to swimming supplies, to sweatpants and jackets.  Meanwhile, advertised sales of popular items are often run simultaneously on the website.  Rather than wait in a long Black Friday line, fighting a huge crowd, it’s nice to peruse a website for the same products.  Not every sale happens online, so doing your research is essential, but Wal-Mart does make many of its deals available in cyberspace.

• Shipping


While shipping costs can be frustrating, the cost of gasoline can be frustrating, as well, and depending on the distance you travel to shop at a brick and mortar Wal-Mart, the shipping fees may be just as cost effective as driving.  Wal-Mart offers some great shipping options, as well.  There are products that ship for .97, each, which is a good deal, if you are only purchasing a couple of items.  There are occasionally promotions that provide free shipping, when a certain amount of money is spent.  There is also site to store shipping, which is free, making it possible to order online, and to pick up at your local store.  Most recently, a similar option has been incorporated into the Walmart.com experience, whereby an in-stock item can be purchased and paid for online, and picked up right away at the given store.

• Returns


One of the biggest downsides to online commerce is the time involved in returning a defective or inadequate product.  However, Wal-Mart allows for in-store returns of Walmart.com purchases.  When you need to see, or try on, a product, in store is the best option, but if you are intent on ordering via Internet, you do have an easy way to handle your return.

• Information


If you want to know exactly what you are getting, then in-store is the best assurance you can get.  Online purchases of clothes, or important tools, can be risky.  It’s better to make the trip to the store, so you know for sure.

• Timing


Shipping of a product, even to a store, can cause delays.  If you need an item quickly, or as a gift, then it’s better to shop in an actual store, unless your shopping is well in advance.  Leave yourself time to make returns or exchanges, if the product is time sensitive.

Walmart.com is a popular choice for many people, and is often the preferred method of purchasing certain types of goods.  It’s a good way to avoid crowds, and to save gasoline.  It is also a great time-saver, for people who lead busy lives.  It’s not always the best option, though, so keep in mind any time constraints, or other interests that might lead you to examine the product in-store.