Online shopping is one of the most popular ways to make purchases, but it's not something that everyone is comfortable doing. As with most things, there are positives and negatives associated with this approach to shopping. Consider the advantages and disadvantages carefully so you can make an informed decision about what's best for you.
Four Benefits of Online Shopping
Shopping on the internet comes with a number of positives.
There is no doubt that shopping online can be very convenient for busy people. You can shop from your home or office - or any other location where you have access to a computer, tablet device or smartphone and Internet access. You can browse and make purchases any time of the day or night from any location that is convenient for you rather than having to take time out of your day or evening to go to local stores in person during their hours of operation.
2. Ease of Comparison Shopping
When you shop online, you can compare offerings and pricing at different stores with the simple click of a button rather than having to get in your car and spend your precious time and hard-earned gas money running from one store to another to see what stores carry what product lines and how much each one is charging.
With the help of shopping comparison sites like NexTag.com, you can go to a central place to narrow down to the online retailers that are likely to have the best deal on the items you want without even having to run key words through search engines to find out where to look.
3. Extensive Product Mix Availability
When you shop online, you might find that there are more options available to you than if you focused your product search only on items available in your local areas. That's because store buyers have to make decisions about what items to carry in their physical stores, and those decisions are impacted by local market demand, past purchasing success and failures and shelf- space constraints.
For example, if you live in an area where snow is rare, you won't find a variety of skiing equipment in your local stores. However, if you're planning a ski vacation, you may have a real need for such items. You'll surely find a better selection online than in your home town. The same is true if you live in a landlocked area but want to decorate a room in your home in a beach theme. Your local stores are not likely to have an extensive selection of beachy decor, but you're sure to find a great variety online.
4. Identify Unique Solutions
When you start shopping for a product to address a specific need, it's possible that there's a solution you don't even know about, or that isn't available locally. Sometimes special purchase deals and highly specialized items are only available for online purchase - even from companies that operate physical stores. Walmart, for example, has items that are only available for purchase via the retail giant's website.
It's also possible that there is an ideal solution for your shopping need that has just been introduced to the market. It often takes innovations a while to make it to the shelves of traditional retail stores - especially in small to medium-size markets, but they tend to become available online very quickly. Without spending some time shopping online, you wouldn't have an opportunity to find out about these types of opportunities.
Four Drawbacks of Online Shopping
Naturally, there are also downsides to shopping on the web too.
1. Lose the Tactile Experience
When you shop online, you don't have an opportunity to touch and feel items you are considering purchasing. With some products - like books and electronic equipment - this isn't an important consideration. However, with clothing, bedding, pillows, furniture, rugs and other textile-based merchandise, it can be hard to gauge quality without hands-on contact. Fit is also a concern with any kind of apparel.
2. Shipping Adds to the Cost
What looks like a bargain might not be such a good deal when the shipping and handling charges are tallied and added to the total. Make sure that you look closely at exactly how much you are likely to need to pay to have your merchandise delivered to your door - or to the person you are purchasing it for - before finalizing your purchase decision.
3. Returns Can Be Costly
It's essential to be aware of the return policy for any e-commerce retailer you are considering doing business with. The majority of sites do not pay return shipping if you have to send something back, so it often costs you more money than you planned to spend if you need to exchange an item.
Returning merchandise for a refund can also be costly. Most online retailers do not refund shipping costs - not the cost of return postage or the original shipping charge. This can mean that, for relatively low-dollar items, it can cost you nearly as much to return an item as it does to just keep the merchandise.
4. Dealing with an Unknown Vendor
When you are shopping online, unless you are purchasing from a well-known e-tailer like Amazon or Zappos or the online arm of a department store like Kohl's or JC Penney, you really don't know who you are doing business with. Anybody can open an online store - especially with products that are easy to access through a drop-shopping company - but not everyone is honest and reputable.
When you are shopping with an online store that you don't know anything about, it can be difficult to feel confident that they'll still be there if a problem arises with your order and to feel that the personal information you are required to share when making a purchase will really be protected. Online security concerns can certainly be an important consideration when selecting an e-tailer.
Is Shopping Online Right for You?
In the end, it's up to you to decide if shopping online is in your best interests. It's likely that - for some types of purchases - shopping online makes more sense than purchasing locally, but that the opposite is true for others.
The fact that online shopping is widely available simply means that consumers today have more choices available to them than in decades past. Consider your options carefully so you can be sure that you're making wise, informed purchasing decisions that meet your needs and that you feel comfortable with.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Shopping Online
1600 WordsSep 11th, 20117 Pages
Online stores are usually available 24 hours a day, and many consumers have Internet access both at work and at home. Other establishments such as internet cafes and schools provide access as well. A visit to a conventional retail store requires travel and must take place during business hours.
In the event of a problem with the item – it is not what the consumer ordered, or it is not what they expected – consumers are concerned with the ease with which they can return an item for the correct one or for a refund. Consumers may need to contact the retailer, visit the post office and pay return shipping, and then wait for a replacement or refund. Some online companies have more generous return policies to…show more content…
states to require disclosure to consumers when this happens. Computer security has thus become a major concern for merchants and e-commerce service providers, who deploy countermeasures such as firewalls and anti-virus software to protect their networks.
Phishing is another danger, where consumers are fooled into thinking they are dealing with a reputable retailer, when they have actually been manipulated into feeding private information to a system operated by a malicious party. Denial of service attacks are a minor risk for merchants, as are server and network outages.
Quality seals can be placed on the Shop web page if it has undergone an independent assessment and meets all requirements of the company issuing the seal. The purpose of these seals is to increase the confidence of the online shoppers; the existence of many different seals, or seals unfamiliar to consumers, may foil this effort to a certain extent. A number of resources offer advice on how consumers can protect themselves when using online retailer services. These include:
• Sticking with known stores, or attempting to find independent consumer reviews of their experiences; also ensuring that there is comprehensive contact information on the website before using the service, and noting if the retailer has enrolled in industry oversight programs such as trust mark or trust seal.
• Before buying from a new company, evaluate the website by considering issues such as: the professionalism and