/ Shopping

What makes a good online shopping experience?

online shopping

What entices you to shop online? For me, it’s knowing that I don’t have to get on a bus to my local shopping centre before lugging everything home.

I also think trying on clothes in the comfort of my home is a much better option than queuing for a few dusty changing rooms with curtains that don’t quite draw all the way.

But, as the results of our annual survey to find the best and worst online shops reveal, there are a number of reasons why others chose to shop online – and why certain stores become favourites.

Why buy online?

Our survey found that the main reasons people shop online are that it’s easier to find what they’re looking for than on the high street, there’s a greater choice of products, and you can shop around the clock.

Online stores can also be cheaper, and lots of those polled told us they like receiving the unexpected free samples you often get with an online delivery.

And when it comes to the online shops you chose as your favourites, these tend to have sites that are really straightforward to use, so you don’t have to trawl through pages of search results to find one specific item.

Biggest bugbears

On the flipside, 45% of people we surveyed found paying a high price for postage to be the most irritating thing about shopping online – and 40% resented having to pay for postage at all.

And among the people who had a problem with their online purchase, just under two-thirds of them had a delivery turn up late. No wonder around half of people opt to use click-and collect where possible.

Customer service

You might think that going into a shop on the high street, being able to inspect the item you want, having staff on hand to chat to if you need advice about it, and being able to take it home on the same day might tip the scales in favour of shopping online.

But some of you actually prefer the service that comes with shopping on the web.

One Convo contributor, Liz Halsall, told us that the plastic bag charge had ruined retail therapy on the high street for her and persuaded her to shop online more:

‘I object to buying a dress, and having it pushed over the counter… all idea of service seems to have gone along with the bags!!

‘Online shopping becomes even more attractive! Surely shops should be trying to encourage people in, by making the shopping experience a pleasant one?’

So what draws you to shop online or do you still prefer to head to the high street so you can size up what you’re buying?


I do a mixture of both. I don’t really like buying things without seeing them first, especially if it’s for my house or an item of clothing. More often than not I’ll find something I like online, go to the shop to see if I really like it, then, if it needs delivering, order it online, where it’s occasionally cheaper. Also, I’m an odd shape, so need to try a few different sizes on in the shop. If I did this online, I’d end up with loads of deliveries and parcels.


I look on the web , see what I want , phone direct, usually wholesale companies dealing with businesses, and pay by card . Better service, better delivery company and better guarantee.


I have just finished my food order online with Ocado that will be delivered tomorrow morning. Other supermarkets just can’t beat the choice Ocado has for our dietary requirements.

I don’t get freebies as I have not signed up to their Smart Pass and that does annoy me especially as I have been shopping with them since they started so must have spent £000s by now. Ocado proudly stated I would have saved 5p today if I had signed up. I also use their free slots for delivery so why would I want to sign up? Ocado are basically charging for freebies and I thought that was illegal.

For other shopping, I do most of my walking online then head to the stores as I like to look and inspect things before I buy. It depends what I am buying whether it is bought in store or online. If John Lewis sells it, then there is a good chance that is where I will buy it and maybe get it delivered to my local Waitrose for collection.


If you know exactly what you want, then shopping online is a breeze. But when you’re seeking something rather more vaguely, then visiting the shop is more useful. Some high street shops have circumvented the plastic bag charge by providing paper bags. We tend to buy clothes by looking at, feeling and weighing them first in a shop then ordering precisely what we want on-line.


Part of a good online shopping experience is a filter that works and narrows things down nicely so that you don’t have to finally find what you want on the 15th page you’ve looked at.


I agree with you there Sophie, if a website expects you to wade through pages of products in the hope that what you are looking for is there somewhere, then I look elsewhere.

I was looking for something recently where height mattered. A website had filtering for width and depth but not height….grrrr!

Websites where hovering over an item displays a balloon with a brief description or size can save a lot of time and definitely improves the shopping experience.


Giving clear and complete details is crucial. Sometimes one measurement is missing, so it’s impossible to tell if the item will fit where you need it and sometimes important aspects aren’t even mentioned.

Bishbut says:
19 October 2016

I always look online for anything I want to buy.I look at prices but many time then visit a local shop to examine the product. I then decide just what to buy. I ask their price then usually say can you match the online price. They usually do or come very near. I prefer to buy locally as returning faulty items is easier It is usually small cost items I buy online I will always look for manufacturer refurbished items as many are brand new ,unused returned items at a lower price


I have done a lot of online shopping since moving house and it can be very time consuming unless I know exactly what I want. As Ian says, essential information can be missing and once I had to look at t