This is the 21st century and non-contact shopping has taken over. E-commerce as it is called has replaced physical shopping but not completely. There is a growing need to setup online business to aid online shopping that is void of physical contact. There is a growing need for comfort as regards shopping, as a lot of people are getting used to being indoors. This new phase or character has shown to not reduce the presence of physical stores, neither does it eradicate physical shopping. This growing trend can be attributed to the massive penetration of the internet across every city or slum. This has affected online shopping positively as it brings potential customers to the floor. There are a lot of advantages that online presence of stores gives online buyers. These are explained below:
Advantages of Online Shopping
Great DealsStores offer various deals across a variety of their products. How do you access these deals if you are on foot? It means you would have to cover a lot of ground visiting stores while asking a lot of questions. These deals are usually not on display until you ask. With online shopping, this is eradicated as every online store puts up deals on their page. This in turn attracts a lot of patronage from online buyers. Some websites gather all of these deals and display them in one page so it is easily accessible. This is one of the perks of online shopping. Discounts and coupons are also offered when goods are purchased online.
ConvenienceA lot of people are claustrophobic, hence dread crowded places. Online shopping is a game changer for them as it allows them carry out their shopping without fear. With online stores, you can shop at any time of the day, from any place. Either in your home or office, or the streets. In your birthday suit, in a costume or whatever. With online stores, you don’t have to stand in line. John B. Horrigan, PhD (2007) reveals in his study that 78% of Americans agree that online shopping is very convenient while 53% strongly agree to that premise.
Fewer ExpensesA lot of unplanned shopping take place when you embark on a shopping spree online. This swings both ways though as more money could be spent either via online shopping or the conventional way of shopping. However, impulsive buying can’t be ruled out when one embarks on shopping via the conventional way.
VarietyWith online shopping, you get a lot of options, all in one place. This would have been achieved with a lot of energy if shopping was done the conventional way. It is easier to shop across different geographical locations as well. For instance, I could be in Nigeria and shop for products in Canada. It is that simple.
Crowd ControlWith online shopping, there are no crowd trouble or hurried shopping.
Price ComparisonsIt is awkward if one has to go to various stores just to get pricing on items. This could be tiring as one could be exhausted real quick. However, you are able to compare prices when you engage in online shopping. You could open tabs of similar stores with similar or exact products, and compare prices. There are websites that compile prices of items from various stores in one place. This is helpful as all your price comparisons can be made on one page.
Discreet PurchasesOnline shopping affords a buyer privacy with respect to the purchase of some items. Adult toys and the likes, are private items that most people do not feel comfortable purchasing in public. The availability of online stores enable these customers shop in private and still retain their societal status.. So far we have talked about the advantages of online shopping. It is pertinent to note that there are also concerns as regards online shopping. Let’s look at them below.
Disadvantages of Online Shopping
Hands-on InspectionA lot of people prefer to inspect their goods before they purchase. This is peculiar to some certain type of items though. With the conventional shopping, it is easier to inspect items and check for defects before making payments. This is impossible for online purchases. All of the time, inspection is done after payment has been made and the goods delivered. In the event of a defect, a long process of returns and claims set in which could take a while to be rectified. This could be a deal breaker when shopping for some type of items. Also, small details usually necessary to make or not make a purchase may not be visible until after the purchase.
ShippingConventional shopping methods offer buyers the luxury of leaving with their products unlike online shopping. Products would involve shipping which may take a while especially when sellers offer free shipping.
Security WorriesAs regards online shopping, this is the biggest threat posed. The number of hackers increases rapidly on a daily basis and naive users are the most prone to online fraud. A lot of things can go wrong for a user as a result of online shopping. Issues like identity theft, information interception, phishing emails, even wire fraud, are some of the ills of online shopping. Online shopping is actually secured but the carelessness of potential buyers is what jeopardizes this approach in shopping. In other for one not to fall victim of fraud or theft of sensitive information, it is pertinent to follow the tips below when embarking on online purchase of goods and services.
Things to Do Before Making a Purchase Online.
- Be sure to contact your bank on their fraud policies. Are you insured in the event you fall victim of fraud? Who would be responsible if purchases are made with your stolen credit card
- Antivirus, Anti malware, and spyware programs help mitigate some of these fraud activities. Ensure you have them installed on your computer.
- Update the antivirus software frequently so as to stay ahead with respect to new virus Definitions.
- Always keep ahead by knowing various and recent fraud formats. Verify, verify and re-verify every piece of information before you proceed.
Staying Safe While Shopping Online
- Buyers should only shop on secure websites. How do you know a secure website? It begins with “https” and stands for SECURE http connection. This is noted with a padlock shown at the top right corner of your address bar in the internet address window.
- Never you send your information to stores via email (especially credit card details). Legitimate online stores / sellers will NEVER ask for payment information (credit card details) via email.
- Smaller online stores request payment through 3rd party vendors like PayPal, PayStack (as noted in Nigeria). This is secure but care should be taken to make sure the SECURE sign or padlock is at the top right of the address bar. This shows you are on a secure and legit website.
- Dealing with popular brands is the right way to go as regards shopping online. This is as a result of long term service the brand must have given to customers.