Applying to a Job Online vs. Visiting the Store: Which is Better

by | Aug 11, 2021


Filling out applications for a new job is exciting. When you decide to apply for a retail position, you have two options for getting your application in front of a hiring manager: apply online or visit the store. 



Conventional wisdom says that it is a good idea to walk into the store and fill out the application in person, while modern advice suggests that applying online is the better option. Ultimately the best way to apply to a job is to investigate the company’s hiring process and tailor your approach to the specific position you are applying for. 




Applying In-Store 


If you want to work for a store or retail company, you can consider applying in the store. Applying in person gives you an advantage because you can meet the staff and managers face-to-face and make a good impression before submitting your application.



You can show your interest in the job by asking questions about the company and job description and drop off a resume with the manager. If the hiring manager isn’t available, you can leave your contact information so they can reach you for a job interview in the next few days. 



Despite these benefits to in-person applications, there are a few reasons that visiting the store to apply might not get you results. Many big retail chains require you to apply online. If they follow a strict hiring procedure and your application isn’t in their online database, they might be unable to proceed with hiring you. 



Additionally, some retail operations are so busy that drop-in applications are inconvenient. Set up an appointment or call to see when a hiring manager is available and when they typically have downtime to plan your in-person visit. 




Applying Online


Most retail positions in 2021 are gained by filling out online applications for desired positions. Unlike applying for jobs in person, job searching online allows you to see hundreds of job postings and fill out the online job applications from the comfort of your home.



When you apply online, you experience the following job hunting perks:



  • Ability to apply to upwards of 10 to 15 jobs in one sitting
  • Ability to apply to different types of jobs easily
  • Electronic submission of resumes and cover letters
  • Easily check your application status to see that it was received
  • Save time and money on traveling to physical locations
  • No worrying about first impressions until an actual interview

Even with all these advantages to applying online, there are a few downsides. When you apply to jobs online, you lose out on personal contact and the ability to connect with the employees in the store. Instead, you become one of many faceless applicants and are more likely to be judged on the factual information on your application rather than your personality. You also might miss out on employment opportunities with small, local companies that don’t have an online application process. 




Tips for Choosing Whether to Apply Online or In-Store


When deciding whether to apply online or in the store, there are a few tips you can keep in mind. Determine the best option for the specific application based on these factors: 



1. Size Matters


 Apply in-store with smaller companies and online with large chain retailers. 



2. Your Comfort Level 


If you aren’t good with first impressions, apply online. You can always prepare for your interview to make sure you’re ready.



3. Type of Job


Restaurants and busy retailers typically prefer that you apply online first and come during a scheduled interview rather than dropping in.



4. Readiness


Applying in person works great if you have time and the information you’ll need for an application. If you are in a rush or don’t have your job history or references on hand, you’re better off applying online once you have these documents prepared. 



5. Naturalness  


If you visit the store often and a conversation about working there happens naturally, it’s a good time to ask for an application or interview.



6. Hiring Process 


Ask the store what their hiring process is. Their answer will tell you which method they prefer potential hires to use. 



Final Verdict: Online is the Future


While there is still a place for in-store applications, applying for jobs online is the future. The convenience of filtering your job search queries and filling out an initial application outweighs the interpersonal connection you might develop by applying in person. 



With helpful job boards like, you can easily find a job that matches your experiences and skills and apply online within minutes. Visit to view online job postings and get started on your new career today.