You've MORE rights online than in-store
Many people are surprised to learn you've EXTRA rights buying online (or by telephone/catalogue) due to the Consumer Contracts Regulations.
These give a legal right to send most goods back within a fortnight for a full refund (including outward delivery costs), even if there's no fault. You'll usually need to pay for the return delivery. See the Consumer Rights guide for more.
However, this is balanced by the fact that ordering online means there's a time gap between ordering and delivering when the company has your money. So if it goes bust in that time, the cancellation rights don't help.
Buy in-store:You have NO right to return goods unless they're faulty. Some stores will allow you to return items, but that's their policy rather than any official obligation.
Buy online: Under the consumer contacts regulations, you have a 14-day legal right to return goods without any fault for a full refund (including delivery costs, though you may need to pay to send the goods back).
All this means researching offline but buying online can be your best bet.
Of course this Robo-shopping technique can’t be looked at in isolation. If everyone does it, it’ll be a further boot in the back of high streets.
However, there is a half-way house. As we’ve nearly a complement of bricks and clicks stores (ie, those which have both a high street and online presence), it is at least worth considering buying from the web version of the high street ‘showroom’ that you looked in. I suspect as more people learn their rights this will become the age of the Robo-shopper.