Shopping

The Pros and Cons of Online Shopping

Online shopping is becoming more popular every year as people embrace the convenience, selection, and low prices available when shopping online. In this article, I talk about some of the pros and cons of shopping online.

There’s something to be said for walking into a physical store and being able to easily see, touch and ask questions about a product. Arguably, physical shopping is a more engaging experience, often filled with background music, as well as sights and sounds of other customers and employees on hand to provide assistance when needed. Different products can be compared side by side with very little effort. One of the advantages of physical shopping is its organization, which makes it relatively easy to locate the right department and the right shelf. Everything the store offers is made available through a simple and logical shelf layout. Online sites offer an organizational layout and text search capability, but this different way of locating a product of interest is an online shopping difference to get used to. Other benefits of brick shopping are being able to get out of the house, get some exercise, breathe the outside air, and avoid cabin fever (this type of activity was quite important in the winter when I lived in Chicago).

People of a cautious nature may find some features of online shopping a bit difficult to get used to, such as getting acclimated to what would be tantamount to searching for goods with tunnel blinders that only allow a very narrow view of what’s on their minds. wait straight away. of his eyes. Brick and mortar stores are physically arranged to make it more likely that certain items will be seen more than others. Online stores also emphasize certain products over others. Most websites contain product descriptions, but descriptions can be too general or too detailed, making it difficult to compare two or more products on their features. If the buyer has a question that is appropriate for a human being such as a salesperson in a store, where will the online customer ask the question? There is something lost in not having an informed person available to provide an immediate response. Many popular online shopping sites now offer independent customer reviews provided by customers who have purchased each product. These reviews go a long way in providing enough detailed information about a product to determine whether to buy it or not.

In the United States, shopping malls and online websites are responding to the limitations of the online shopping process by offering a return policy close enough to a no-questions-asked return policy to ensure online customer happiness. . Even so, one of the disadvantages of shopping online is having to wait to get the product, depending on the shipping method selected. If a product needs to be refunded or returned for any reason, there is the inconvenience of returning the product. This often involves a phone call and a trip to the local post office, after which one waits again to receive a replacement or refund. Compare that to simply returning the item and receipt to a local brick-and-mortar store and having either a refund or an exchanged product in hand within minutes.

Let’s talk about security. In a physical store, cash can be used, and if a debit or credit card is used, the shopper can see who is processing their card. Also, it is usually not necessary to provide personal information such as a name and physical address. This is not the case with online shopping, as the item must be addressed and delivered to a person at an address. Cash cannot be used online, so which entity processes the card and captures personal information from the web? And how secure is personal information? One way to significantly reduce risk when shopping online is to use virtual credit card numbers. These numbers are provided by credit card issuers such as Citi and Discover and can only be used once. Thus, even if the credit card information is entered by another entity during the transaction, it cannot be used to make a second purchase. I use virtual credit card numbers when shopping online and highly recommend this practice.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of shopping online. If the four-wheeler in his driveway is expensive to refuel, then it’s an obvious plus to be able to shop in the virtual market and save on transportation costs. It’s also a “greener” arrangement – computers emit little or no carbon even when powered. For those who find it tiring to deal with the crowds, there are none in cyberspace and no queues when paying. The magical online domain has no time to get in your way, either – all shopping is done in a sheltered environment, protected from the elements. And there’s no need to worry about keeping your kids together and in sight when shopping online. But perhaps the best feature of all is the cost savings that can be achieved online. Items online more often than not can be purchased and shipped for much less, as the price does not include the overhead associated with having a physical store present. In most cases, there is also no sales tax, unless the merchant maintains some physical presence in the state where the item is purchased. For example, Amazon.com only charges sales tax on orders shipped to Kansas, North Dakota, New York, or Washington, and Overstock.com only charges sales tax on orders shipped to Utah. To sweeten the deal, many merchants offer special online coupons, discount codes, and promotional codes that provide additional discounts.

As an example of the money that can be saved when shopping online, I purchased a “Cuisinart Prep 11 Plus” food processor and used the online price comparison engine at Shopzilla. com to find the best deal, which was on Etronics.com for $172. no sales tax and free shipping. A local Sears store had listed it at $199.99 and would have charged about $16 in sales tax for a total of $216. In this particular case, I saved $44 (20%) by shopping online and using Shopzilla to compete with online stores for my business. And it only took me about 10 minutes of effort. With the advent of cheaper computing and increased online competition, people are generally getting used to accessing the world through the eyes of cyberspace. So this is the thing to come, and a tide that is unlikely to reverse. As a society, we have adapted to other significant changes over time, such as the advent and convenience of air travel, trains and automobiles rather than horses, and online shopping is another paradigm shift to which we will adapt.

In summary, when considering the pros and cons of shopping online, the pros outweigh the cons, especially for items that are widely available and where the best price is sought. Shoppers save time and money buying what they need online and virtual store owners can run their business with much less overhead. That the pros outweigh the cons is evident when looking at the sharp increases in online shopping that have occurred globally over the past few years.

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