Due to rapid growth of technology, business organizations have switched over from the traditional method of selling goods to electronic method of selling goods. Business organizations use internet as a main vehicle to conduct commercial transactions. There are advantages and disadvantages of online selling.
Ease of use is the prime reason that drives the success of e-commerce. Though internet provides a quick and easy way to purchase a product, some people prefer to use this technology only in a limited way. They regard internet as a means for gathering more information about a product before buying it in a shop. Some people also fear that they might get addicted to online shopping.
1. Convenience of online shopping
Customers can purchase items from the comfort of their own homes or work place. Shopping is made easier and convenient for the customer through internet. It is also easy to cancel the transactions.
The following table depicts the factors which motivate the online shoppers to buy products online.
2. No pressure shopping
Generally, in physical stores, the sales representatives try to influence the buyers to buy the product. There can be some kind of pressure, whereas the customers are not pressurized in any way in online stores.
3. Online shopping saves time
Customers do not have to stand in queues in cash counters to pay for the products that have been purchased by them. They can shop from their home or work place and do not have to spend time traveling. The customers can also look for the products that are required by them by entering the key words or using search engines.
Companies display the whole range of products offered by them to attract customers with different tastes and needs. This enables the buyers to choose from a variety of models after comparing the finish, features and price of the products on display, Sometimes, price comparisons are also available online.
5. Availability of online shop
The mall is open on 365 x 24 x 7. So, time does not act as a barrier, wherever the vendor and buyers are.
6. Online tracking
Online consumers can track the order status and delivery status tracking of shipping is also available.
‘7. Online shopping saves money
To attract customers to shop online, e-tailers and marketers offer discounts to the customers. Due to elimination of maintenance, real-estate cost, the retailers are able to sell the products with attractive discounts through online. Sometimes, large online shopping sites offer store comparison.
The major disadvantages of online shopping are as follows.
1. Delay in delivery
Long duration and lack of proper inventory management result in delays in shipment. Though the duration of selecting, buying and paying for an online product may not take more than 15 minutes; the delivery of the product to customer’ s doorstep takes about 1-3 weeks. This frustrates the customer and prevents them from shopping online.
2. Lack of significant discounts in online shops
Physical stores offer discounts to customers and attract them so this makes it difficult for e-tailers to compete with the offline platforms.
3. Lack of touch and feel of merchandise in online shopping
Lack of touch-feel-try creates concerns over the quality of the product on offer. Online shopping is not quite suitable for clothes as the customers cannot try them on.
4. Lack of interactivity in online shopping
Physical stores allow price negotiations between buyers and the seller. The show room sales attendant representatives provide personal attention to customers and help them in purchasing goods. Certain online shopping mart offers service to talk to a sales representative,
5. Lack of shopping experience
The traditional shopping exercise provides lot of fun in the form of show-room atmosphere, smart sales attendants, scent and sounds that cannot be experienced through a website. Indians generally enjoy shopping. Consumers look forward to it as an opportunity to go out and shop.
6. Lack of close examination in online shopping
A customer has to buy a product without seeing actually how it looks like. Customers may click and buy some product that is not really required by them. The electronic images of a product are sometimes misleading. The colour, appearance in real may not match with the electronic images.
People like to visit physical stores and prefer to have close examination of good, though it consumes time. The electronic images vary from physical appearance when people buy goods based on electronic images.
7. Frauds in online shopping
Sometimes, there is disappearance of shopping site itself. In addition to above, the online payments are not much secured. So, it is essential for e-marketers and retailers to pay attention to this issue to boost the growth of e-commerce. The rate of cyber crimes has been increasing and customers’ credit card details and bank details have been misused which raise privacy issues.
Customers have to be careful in revealing their personal information. Some of the e-tailers are unreliable.
The disadvantages of online shopping will not hinder its growth, Online shopping helped businesses to recover from the recession.
Merchants should pay attention to the stumbling blocks and ensure secure payment system to make online shopping effective, The following advice may be followed by the E-merchants and by the online shoppers.
10 Benefits of Shopping Online
- Convenience. Convenience is the biggest perk. Where else can you comfortably shop at midnight while in your pajamas? There are no lines to wait in or cashiers to track down to help you with your purchases, and you can do your shopping in minutes. Online shops give us the opportunity to shop 24/7, and also reward us with a ‘no pollution’ shopping experience. There is no better place to buy informational products like e-books, which are available to you instantly, as soon as the payment goes through. Downloadable items purchased online eliminate the need for any kind of physical material at all, as well, which helps the environment!
- Better prices. Cheap deals and better prices are available online, because products come to you direct from the manufacturer or seller without involving middlemen. Plus, it’s easier to compare prices and find a better deal. Many online sites offer discount coupons and rebates, as well. Not only are prices better, but you can save on tax as well, since online shops are only required to collect a sales tax if they have a physical location in your state. Factor in the saved expense of gas and parking and you have saved yourself a lot of money!
- More variety. The choices online are amazing. You can find almost any brand or item you’re looking for. You can get in on the latest international trends without spending money on airfare. You can shop from retailers in other parts of the state, country, or even world instead of being limited to your own geography. A far greater selection of colors and sizes than you will find locally are at your disposal. Plus, the stock is much more plentiful, so you’ll always be able to find your size and color. Some online shops even accept orders for out-of-stock items and ship when they come in.
- You can send gifts more easily. Sending gifts to relatives and friends is easy, no matter where they are. All the packaging and shipping is done for you. Oftentimes, they’ll even gift wrap it for you! Now, there is no need to make distance an excuse for not sending a gift on occasions like birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and so forth.
- More control. Many times, when we opt for conventional shopping, we tend to spend a lot more than planned and end up buying items that aren’t exactly what we wanted (but we can’t find anything better in the store). Online, you don’t have to let the store’s inventory dictate what you buy, and you can get exactly what you want and need.
- Easy price comparisons. Comparing and researching products and their prices is so much easier online. If you’re shopping for appliances, for example, you can find consumer reviews and product comparisons for all the options on the market, with links to the best prices. We can research firsthand experience, ratings, and reviews for most products and retailers.
- No crowds. If you are like me, you hate crowds when you’re shopping. Especially during holidays, festivals, or on weekends, they can be such a huge headache. Also, being crushed in the crowds of shoppers sometimes makes us feel rushed or hurried. You don’t have to battle for a parking place. All of these problems can be avoided when you shop online.
- No pressure. Oftentimes when we’re out shopping, we end up buying things that we don’t really need, all because shopkeepers pressure us or use their selling skills to compel us to make these purchases.
- You can buy used or damaged items at lower prices. The marketplace on the Internet gives us access to listings of old or damaged items at rock bottom prices. Also, if we want to buy antiques, there’s no better place to find great ones.
- Discreet purchases are easier. Some things are better done in the privacy of your home. Online shops are best for discreet purchases for things like adult toys, sexy lingerie, and so on. This enables me to purchase undergarments and lingerie without embarrassment or any paranoia that there are people watching or judging me.
- You get an electronic record of the receipt of your purchase, which makes record-keeping much easier.
- You get to try things on in the comfort of your own home.
- Sometimes, returns are easy.
- It saves time!
10 Disadvantages of Online Shopping
- Negative environmental impact of packaging and gas. Having your purchase packed in several layers of plastic and cardboard packaging and delivered right to your front door is good for you, but not so great for the environment. Even if you try to recycle the cardboard, you’re creating unnecessary waste by shopping online.
- Shipping problems and delays. Even the biggest and best shipping companies and online retailers have their bad days, so there’s no way to ensure that you’ll get your hands on your purchase in time unless you pick it up from a store. Items get lost, detoured, damaged, or delivered to the wrong address more often than you can imagine.
- Risk of fraud. If you’re shopping online, there’s a larger risk of fraud: credit card scams, phishing, hacking, identity theft, counterfeit products, bogus websites, and other scams are common.
- Spending too much time online. Especially if your job requires that you look at a computer all day, you might get burnt out on all that screen time. Shopping online can turn into a marathon of scrolling and clicking down rabbit holes and before you know it, you’ve been online for most of the day. The internet is a nice place to visit, but you probably don’t want to live there.
- Less contact with the community. If you do all your business online, you’ll never have to leave your home. This might be great for a while but sometimes, you might want to go outside, breathe some fresh air, get a change of scenery, talk to real people, participate in your community, and just be a part of the crowd. Sometimes, a computer monitor can’t compete with a real human connection.
- You don’t know exactly what you’re getting. Unless you are intimately familiar with a brand or product, buying online requires a leap of faith . . . one that doesn’t always end in your favor. Sizes are often imprecise. You can’t determine texture, fabric, fit, cut, quality, heft, or durability just by looking at a photo. Products that looked great might feel chintzy, awkward, or cheap when you hold them in your hands.
- Returns can be complicated. Some sellers make the process breezy, but many make it extra hard for you to return their merchandise or get a refund. Many times, you can’t get reimbursed for any shipping costs. Labeling, packaging, shipping, tracking, and filling out all the proper forms is a hassle you can avoid if you buy in person (and if you hand-select your merchandise, you won’t need to return things so often).
- Unfriendly, scammy, or complicated websites. Some sites require that you join their mailing list and make it impossible to unsubscribe. Some sell your email address to others, so your email is full of ads. Sometimes, sites don’t offer good or accurate descriptions of the goods, or you just can’t figure out how to purchase or return an item or speak to customer service.
- No sales assistance. In a store, there’s usually someone to help you but online, you’re on your own. If you’re confused or have questions, it’s just too bad for you. You might have to make blind purchases and mistakes you’ll regret later because there was no one to talk to.
- No support for local retailers. If everyone started doing all their shopping online, all the local stores would go out of business. When all the stores in town are gone, we’ll have to drive further and further away to shop at a real store. Many people and places have already experienced the negative and sometimes devastating impacts of e-commerce which take away jobs and devastate local economies.