Advantages and Disadvantages of Shopping Online

Advantages and Disadvantages of Shopping Online

Internet shopping has revolutionized the retail trade over the past 20 years or so, both for consumers and traders. It currently accounts for around 10% of retail sales in the USA and continues to rise.

Many products can be found for a more affordable price online and having the product delivered to your door can be very convenient for buyers. Critics, however, highlight the time delay caused by delivery, plus the problems that can be caused by the buyer not being able to check out the product in person, or communicate face to face with a retailer before the purchase.

As e-commerce forms such an important part of many peoples lives in the modern world, I thought it would be interesting and useful to list the relative merits and downsides of this still relatively recent phenomenon.

The 7 Main Benefits of Shopping Online

1. Convenience

You can shop from the comfort of your own home, your workplace, or virtually anywhere. All you need is a device to search for and view the products that you are interested in (usually a computer, tablet, or smartphone), plus some form of internet access, and a convenient address where you can receive the goods that you order.

2. Choice

You have a maximum amount of choice when buying products via the internet. You are not limited to what an individual store sells or stocks. If a product exists, then you will almost certainly be able to buy it online somewhere, and often you will also get options of purchasing a product that is in a used condition, as well as new.

3. International Availability

As well as internal markets, shopping online gives you access to international goods. If you can’t find the right product in your home country, then you can look abroad.

4. Prices Comparisons and Reviews

You have easy access to price comparisons and reviews of the products that you are interested in buying. You can also easily compare prices at different vendors.

5. Relaxed Decision Making

There is no pressure from a salesperson when shopping online. You can proceed at your own pace, researching when necessary, without anyone pushing you into anything.

6. Financial Organization

It can be easier to keep records of what you have bought. Emailed receipts are often harder to lose than the paper version.

7. Bargains

Last, but not least, another plus point is that you can often get some great bargains by buying this way. Big retailers often price products cheaper online than they do in their bricks and mortar stores. Many items can also be bought at bargain prices through online auction sites such as eBay. There are plenty of coupons, and other types of special offers out there.

The 8 Main Downsides of Shopping Online

1. Time Delay

There is always a time delay in receiving your purchase while you wait for it to be delivered. Buy it in a bricks and mortar store and you can take it home with you straightaway.

2. Product Problems

There may be potential problems with the seller when you buy online. They can describe a product wrongly, or in a way that is misleading, as they have almost total control over how a product is portrayed. They may also be more difficult to communicate with than your local store.

3. Pricing

Retailers can also use methods regarding the pricing of products that many buyers can find underhand. For instance, a product can be displayed at a certain price online, only for excessive shipping, or other costs, to be added later on in the buying process.

4. Delivery

You can have problems with delivery when ordering a product online – either it arrives broken, or it doesn’t arrive at all. This may happen only rarely, but it can be very frustrating and time-consuming when it does occur.

5. Impersonal

There is very little scope for building any sort of rapport with the seller when you go to buy a product online. This makes the process very impersonal. There is no shop owner or employee to give you specialist advice, help, or tips. Neither is there generally someone to give you follow up help in person, should you have any problems with your product.

6. Psychology

There are all sorts of potential psychological and emotional problems associated with the ease with which people can buy online. Impulsive buying, addiction, overspending, and debt-related issues can all be exacerbated. Also, it is easier for people to buy products when intoxicated, or for children to purchase unwanted items using their parent’s credit cards and online accounts without permission.

7. Fraud

Fraud and identity theft are a constant threat when buying over the internet. There are also major issues concerning the privacy of the data that is supplied to retailers by buyers.

8. Contact With Products

You can’t try out the product in advance, when you buy online. Neither can you touch a product, or see it close up with your own eyes. This can be a considerable disadvantage when it comes to certain types of products, for example: clothing.

online shopping

All you need to shop online is a computer, tablet, or smartphone, a way of accessing the internet, and a way of paying for your purchase. Most transactions involve the use of a debit or credit card, but there are numerous other payment methods.

source: Paul Goodman

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