The popularity of online shopping is rising every day as internet E-commerce stores offer even more great products and highly competitive prices and offers. Internet E-Commerce stores have a huge variety of products available which makes shopping for any type of product or service extremely convenient.
Consumers can purchase anything from clothing to groceries, electronic appliances to automobiles. Even rare items such as valuable jewelry can be purchased on the internet.
Many traditional stores now have an online presence which includes retailers of various types such as grocery stores, clothing retailers, electronic appliances and general merchandise stores.
Many of today’s most popular and successful retailers, however, don’t actually have a brick and mortar existence. Think Amazon or E-bay, two of the biggest online store without a traditional storefront.
The growth of online shopping
The number of internet shoppers has jumped to nearly 40% in the last two years. This means that about 85% of the world is using their internet to make a variety of purchases.
Online shopping is no longer considered the fad or novelty it once was. Online retail is now considered to be one of the most important sectors in the global economy.
The simple reason it has gained popularity worldwide is simple – convenience.
The other important point is that, due to the economies of scale involved, internet shopping generally tends to be much cheaper than traditional retail shopping and can also offer a far greater selection of products.
The first internet stores hit the world over two decades ago and since then consumers have been browsing online to look for various products and services.
It has had a major, transformative impact not just on traditional retail, but on the industry as a whole.
Remember when the airline printed your ticket for you? Remember the local bookshop, the local record store, video rental shop – how about the local travel agents? All gone now, just some of the countless casualties mowed down by the online retail juggernaut.
What are the Benefits of Shopping Online
Studies have indicated that online sales in the year 2021 are expected to hit $4.5 Trillion. The reason is simple, online retail offers far more benefits when compared to traditional stores.
Running online stores reduce overheads in many ways, which translates to reduced prices for the consumer. A study conducted in 2004 found that shopping at online stores was 6-16% lower than shopping in traditional stores.
Online Coupons and Savings
Shoppers can further save at internet stores offering a variety of coupons. According to a report released in 2005 by Bizrate/Shopzilla, 71% of internet shoppers said that compared to finding discounts on the traditional retail merchant catalogues, they were able to find numerous discount offers at internet stores.
Online stores may have a text link or button that will apply automatically as savings on your order, or you may be issued a coupon code at checkout.
The internet has opened up the world to online shoppers. You can compare products and prices easily, in order to make a more informed decision about the exact item you want to purchase.
Internet stores can publish a wealth of information that traditional stores may not be able to jam into their already overflowing catalogue.
Also, internet stores let you share information and reviews with others if you are looking for a second opinion on a certain product. With the increase of internet speed, interactive features at online stores are bound to increase.
For instance, a leading shoe retailer Zappos.com lets the shopper view the same shoe from multiple angles. Think how clever that idea is for a second when you’re buying shoes what do you do? You pick up the shoe and turn it around in your hands, looking at it from different angles.
You put it on and you look at it in the mirror from different angles. In other words, as technology becomes more sophisticated it becomes easier for customers to make informed decisions in an online retail environment than in a brick and mortar one.
Internet stores will find warehousing logistics to be far simpler than traditional stores. Many internet stores offer a staggering inventory for shoppers to select from.
This takes away the inconvenience of having to physically travel from one store to the next. All you have to do is to conduct an online search, which will lead you to the product you desire at the right price.
Internet stores are convenient places to shop as they are open 365 days of the year. Regardless of which time zone you live in, you can shop anytime you want at your leisure.
This is very useful to those who are unable to visit a brick and mortar shop.
Parents of little kids and the elderly will find internet stores to be most convenient and have a more relaxed experience in the store, instead of having to wait in line at the checkout counter or deal with pushy salesmen.
Recent research has indicated that online shopping has reduced the need for fuel, which has led to less air pollution.
Also, online shopping lessens the need to print catalogues and use excess packaging. Downloadable items have eliminated the need for any material packaging at all.
Ways to Shop Online Safely
Shopping online compared to shopping in traditional stores offers more benefits, it turns the world into a truly global market.
You can order exotic spices from Istanbul, pure, delicious olive oil from the Mediterranean, indigenous art from Latin America or prime beef from Texas.
Internet businesses take complete advantage of the low overhead costs often offering items at highly discounted rates.
This allows the user to save substantially when shopping online. Also, internet stores provide safer and more flexible methods of payments than before.
Here are a few precautions that are required to ensure you make shopping online a safe experience.
Secure Web Browser
When shopping online order from internet stores that offer a secured transaction. Secured transactions are when the information you provide is encrypted, which means only the vendor can read it.
Many internet stores will proceed with the transaction only if you are using a secure browser.
The latest computers generally come with a secured browser, though because of ongoing security risks you must always ensure you have the latest version of your chosen browser and install security patches regularly.
Internet stores will generally email you a purchase confirmation upon payment. Make certain you print these out and save them in a file for future reference.
Check Bank Statements and Credit Cards
Check your bank statements and credit cards regularly. Look for confirmation of purchases you made and keep an eye out for any irregularities. If you come across such errors make certain you inform your bank or credit card company immediately.
Check Policies at Online Stores
Before you make your purchase read through the disclosures on the website’s security policy, refund and return policy and the FAQ pages.
Check how the internet store will use your personal data. If the website has nothing in writing about protecting your personal information, shop somewhere else.