The Pros and Cons of Online Shopping
Online shopping is a modern form of electronic retailing that enables consumers to directly purchase goods or services from an online seller over the Internet with a simple web browser or a specialized cell phone app. The evolution of e-commerce can be traced back to the early nineties when it was only a small market. There were a few stores selling items in physical locations, mostly in shopping malls, and individuals visited these stores for a few minutes in order to purchase items they were interested in. Nowadays, consumers go online to search for the products they are looking for and the sheer numbers of online shopping sites has increased over the years. A consumer is therefore exposed to a wider range of products and services than he would have while physically going to a store.
The advantage of online shopping over offline shopping is convenience. With online shopping, a consumer can sit in his pajamas and shop from the comfort of his home at any time of the day. Offline shopping is inconvenient since customers have to change their clothes and travel to different locations in order to get their purchases. Furthermore, most customers are skeptical of shopping online because they do not have the option of examining a product or scrutinizing the customer service provided by the online vendor. However, many advantages present themselves with online shopping.
Convenience is the first benefit of online shopping because it does not require the presence of the shopper at the retail outlet to place an order. The merchant only needs a computer with an online store account and a reliable Internet connection to process the transaction. Therefore, the retailer does not have to provide customer service such as address and phone numbers because the online store takes care of this.
Another advantage of online shopping is that the shopper need not physically leave his home before completing the transaction. The payment is automatically debited from the buyer’s bank account upon entering the shopping cart. This convenience is especially useful for purchases made on foreign websites. For example, if a European customer wants to purchase an item that cannot be shipped outside Europe, he only needs to insert a Payment Method Number, also known as a PIN, into the payment gateway. This Payment Method Number is usually displayed on a receipt so that the European buyer will know how to pay for his purchase.
There are some disadvantages as well when a person decides to shop online rather than visit a brick-and-mortar store. One disadvantage is that shoppers will not be able to examine a product before purchasing it. Online stores typically have smaller selections than those found in brick-and-mortar stores. Another drawback is that online shoppers are subject to wait times associated with conventional store transactions.
However, many online shoppers believe that online shopping is more convenient than traditional methods. Some even point out that while online shopping may have certain disadvantages, it offers more convenience because customers can purchase items while they are at work or on vacation. Others point out that consumers can protect their financial privacy by making purchases through secure online stores. Still, other disadvantages are too numerous to count. The bottom line is that online reviews provide useful information about online shopping and whether it is right for you.