Online shopping has become increasingly widespread for a myriad of reasons, but particularly because of the ability to order products from around the world in an instant. Shoppers are no longer limited to products offered by local retailers because most online retailers offer shipping to many different locations.
Commerce normally refers to the purchase and sale of goods and services. The sale or purchase of a single item by a consumer (buyer) is defined as a transaction, while commerce refers to all transactions related to the purchase and sale of that item in an economy.
Pervasiveness of Ecommerce
Now, you may be asking then where does ecommerce come from? Okay, before we get into the fundamentals of the ecommerce realm, let’s first answer one basic question, “What is ecommerce?” Ecommerce refers to commercial transactions conducted online, meaning the internet. This means that whenever you buy and sell something using the Internet, you’re involved in ecommerce.
When it comes to ecommerce, a word that first comes to mind is growth. In fact, growth projections estimate that by 2022, ecommerce revenues will exceed $638 billion in the U.S. alone. Globally, ecommerce growth projections are also on an upward trajectory:
• There may be as many as 2.14 billion digital buyers worldwide by 2021 (eMarketer)
• U.S. ecommerce sales of apparel, footwear, and accessories projected to exceed $123M by 2022 (Statista)
• Shoppers spend 36% of their budget online on average (BigCommerce)
But what’s exciting about this is that there’s still so much opportunity within the online marketplace.
In A Nutshell
So, in a nutshell, what exactly is eCommerce? Ecommerce or electronic commerce is a term for any type of business, or commercial transaction, that involves the transfer of information across the Internet. It allows consumers to electronically exchange goods and services with no barriers of time or distance.
One of the most enjoyable conveniences of online shopping which is enjoyed by many is the ability to shop for products or services at a time which is convenient for the consumer. This can make it easy for online shoppers to acquire hard to find items or items which are a regional specialty of a particular area.
Let’s look at some conveniences that online shopping provides.
• It is very convenient to shop from where you are located.
• It saves you the cost of driving to stores, as well as parking fees.
• It eliminates the need to wander from store to store comparing prices.
Pros and Cons of Shopping Online
What is advantage and disadvantage of online shopping?
• Advantages of Shopping Online gives you more Control, the ability to do easy Price Comparisons, there are no Crowds to contend with, and there are no immediate sales pressure.
• Disadvantages of Shopping Online on the other hand could result in spending too much time online, return of purchases can be complicated, you don’t know exactly what you’re getting and the likelihood of encountering antagonistic scammers, or complicated phishing websites increases.
First-time Online Shoppers
If you have never shopped online then here are some tips to get you started. Follow these steps when considering a purchase online.
Step 1: Search via Google.
Step 2: Search for a product using Google shopping.
Step 3: Find an item you like using Google shopping.
Step 4: Searching for and buying a product from a secure (SSL certified) website.
Step 5: Adding a product to your basket.
Step 6: Continue shopping or buy your product.
Step 7: Checkout and pay.
Step 8: Print out and save the receipt of the purchase in a safe place for easy reference.
Some disadvantages of shopping online include:
• Online shoppers do not have the ability to physically inspect or try on the items being considered for purchase.
• Online shoppers do not always know if a site is a legitimate retail store and if is safe to shop.
• Restocking and shipping costs are often charged on returns.
Well just as everything else, shopping online has its positive and negatives. So, here are some negatives
• Delay in delivery
• Lack of significant discounts in online shops
• Lack of touch and feel of merchandise in online shopping
• Lack of interactivity in online shopping
• Lack of shopping experience
• Lack of close examination in online shopping
• Frauds in online shopping
Evolution of Online Shopping
It is important to note that the first secure retail transaction over the Web was in 1994; and in 1995, both Amazon.com and eBay launched their online shopping site. Overall, some 51 percent of Americans prefer to shop online, while the remaining 49 percent would rather go to a traditional store.
Experts say that E-commerce is growing 3 times faster than traditional retail, with a growth rate of about 15 percent compared to 5 percent growth for brick and mortar stores.
One may ask, what is the difference between online shopping and traditional? Well, the #1 difference is authenticity; but some online shopping stores tend to exaggerate the facts of the products in making an appealing advertisement of their products.
Online stores may be cheaper in their offerings because of the following factors. Factors such as rent, electricity, payroll, fixtures and shrinkage loss all contribute to the gross margin and overhead of doing business in a shopping center or elsewhere.
The main advantage of online shopping is that it enables reduce your monthly expenses. Most online stores offer lower prices, as opposed to offline stores, as well as offer various bargains that help save even more money. Good online retailers pass the savings on to their customers by cutting the cost of the products; and the easiest way for shoppers to pay less is to compare prices.
Protect Yourself Online
Now for the all-important question! How do you protect yourself when buying online?
• Protect yourself from fraudulent sites Shopping Online
• Pay with a credit card instead of a debit card.
• Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for all online transactions.
• Do not store your credit card information online.
• Disable your browser’s autocomplete feature.
• Avoid performing financial transactions over unsecured public Wi-Fi networks.
• Be vigilant against phishing or bogus sites.
Shopping or making a purchase online requires that you must have a payment method that’s accepted over the internet. This typically means a credit card, but there are ways to shop online even without a credit card. Debit cards can be used to shop online if the card has a Visa or MasterCard logo.
Online Store Account
You can pay for things online by connecting your credit/debit card or checking account to your virtual account on the online store’s site. Then you can buy whatever you want and the payment company (gateway provider connected to Visa/ Master card etc.) will take care of it.
You use these sites by creating an account by choosing the signup option from their site. You’ll be required to submit some pertinent personal information that will identify you as the Bona-fide owner of the account. This will give you access each time you desire to login for whatever reason.
Effects on the Local Economy
While online shopping may be good for you as a shopper because of the many benefits that can be derived from making a purchase, online shopping may be bad for the economy overall.
Why is this so? Online purchases can take taxes away from the local economy. Perhaps the biggest negative impact that online sales have on the economy is that they reduce the amount of sales tax the state collects and other local taxes that towns and counties collect.
Nevertheless, today’s consumers desire convenience, and freedom; and wants to feel as if they are in control of spending their money in the smartest way possible. To do so, they leverage deals throughout the shopping journey, including when deciding where to shop and what to buy. May your shopping be safe and rewarding!