Internet shopping, also referred to as “online shopping”, is a process in which a person buys products and/or services via the internet rather than going to a local brick and mortar store. This process is part of a massive eCommerce opportunity not only for individuals making purchases from businesses but also businesses to businesses. Now being a standard way of shopping, we wanted to provide some of the primary pros and cons.
Introduction to Online Shopping
For starters, the internet has created incredible shopping opportunities. Thanks to this technology, purchases can be made around the world. However, before the internet was available, buying something from another country was left to wealthy people who could afford to travel overseas or pay high shipping costs. However, once the internet was introduced, popularity quickly grew. The number of shoppers will also take a huge leap by yearend 2016 to about $210 million.
An individual can buy products and services from small “mom and pop shops” or international corporations. While virtually anything imaginable can be found through multiple online merchants, some companies stand out because of outstanding products/services, as well as customer support. For instance, both Amazon and eBay are top choices with Amazon receiving approximately 94 million people every month.
Pros of Shopping Online
Because the list of advantages in connection with online shopping is lengthy, we pulled some of the primary reasons this method of shopping is now such a huge phenomenon.
- Convenience – With a computer and internet connection, anyone can shop online. Although a convenient experience for everyone, it is particularly convenient for someone who cannot get out of the home or at minimum finds this difficult. A person with a disability, someone who cares for small children or aging parents, or the individual without transportation would benefit most.
- Variety – Shopping online makes it possible to make purchases locally, nationally, and internationally. With this it is possible to buy unique and genuine items from almost anywhere in the world. Shipping costs would still apply but because competition is high for online businesses, most work hard to offer reasonable rates.
- Savings – Having the ability to compare products and services is a great way to find the lowest prices. In addition, online businesses regularly offer special discounts and put items on sale, eager to pass savings along to consumers. A person would also spend less on the high cost of gas by finding things online.
- Privacy – When shopping locally, the cashier, store employees, and other people in the store shopping at the time could easily see what someone else buys. Obviously, there are certain products that an individual would rather not announce and with shopping via the internet, a purchase would be handled privately out of the sight of prying eyes.
- Efficiency – Without doubt, shopping online is a more efficient option than shopping in person. A prime example would be looking for a home to buy in a different state or country. With the internet, a multitude of homes could be researched through several different real estate companies, making the entire process extremely efficient. This would make the overall transaction smoother but also reduce stress usually associated with house hunting.
- Secure – In most cases, shopping online is safe and secure. Reputable companies use the latest and most innovative technology to ensure a customer’s personal and financial information is protected.
Cons of Shopping Online
There are not many negative aspects of shopping via the internet but a few to consider have been listed below.
- Overspending – Because this way of shopping is so easy and convenient, if not careful a person could overspend. In fact, the first several times products or services are bought most people go a little overboard. Because of this, it would be essential to establish a realistic budget and then use discipline to follow it.
- Security – Although security is a positive aspect of buying online, it could also be negative. Unfortunately there are some businesses that do not offer a high level of protection, which leaves loop holes for identity theft and fraudulent acts. Before buying online, it would be essential to determine the type of security a site offers. This information is offered openly so when not listed, the online business’ integrity should be questioned.
- Damaged Goods – When making a purchase from a well-respected business online, damaged goods upon receipt would be replaced. While this is great, it also means the individual would need to ship the broken item back and then wait several days to weeks for the replacement. Of course, the return and guarantee policy of a company is also something to investigate prior to making a purchase.
- Billing Errors – If a person were to notice an error in billing, a well-respected company would be happy to provide assistance in getting the problem resolved but even this can be a little tricky. Dealing with financial mistakes in a different state but especially country requires patience and usually multiple conversations.
- Payment Methods – In person, purchases can be made with cash, check, debit card or credit card but for internet shopping only a debit or credit card would be accepted. For someone without either card, completing a transaction would be a challenge.
James Hawk is an expert in internet technologies and safe internet shopping (interesting fact is that in Sweden they say internethandel) and he loves to share his knowledge with readers.