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.
Online stores do not have space constraints and a wide variety of products can be displayed on websites. It helps the analytical buyers to purchase a product after a good search.
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.
Top 6 reasons given by shoppers in buying through internet
Saves time and efforts.
Convenience of Shopping at home.
Wide variety / range of products are available.
Good discounts / lower prices.
Get detailed information of the product.
We can compare various models / brands.
Source: I-Cube 2006, a syndicated product of IMRB International.
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.
Infographic on Advantages of Online Shopping
Disadvantages of online shopping
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.
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.