The Pros and Cons of Online Shopping

Online shopping is becoming more and more popular each year because people embrace the convenience, choice, and low prices available when internet shopping. In this article I speak to some of the benefits and drawbacks of online shopping.

There is something to become said for walking into a physical store and being able to see, touch, and easily ask questions about an item. One could argue that brick and mortar shopping is a more engaging experience, often filled up with background music of some sort, along with the sights and sounds of other customers and clerks available to provide assistance when needed. Different products can be compared side by side with very little effort. One benefit of brick and mortar buying is its organization, which allows one to locate the right department and the correct shelf pretty easily. Everything the store offers is made available via a design of straight-forward, logical departments. Websites provide an organizational layout and text search capability, but this various way of locating a product of interest is one online shopping difference that takes a few getting used to. Other benefits of brick front shopping is being able to step out of the house, exercise a bit, breathe a few outdoor air and avoid cabin fever (this type of activity was very important in the winter when I lived within Chicago).

People that are cautious in nature might find certain features of to shop online a bit hard to get used to, such as getting acclimated to what would be the equivalent associated with searching for merchandise with tunnel blinders that only permit a very thin view of what is directly ahead of one’s eyes. Brick and mortar stores are usually physically arranged to make it more probable that certain items will be seen more than others. Online stores also provide focus on specific products over others.
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Most internet sites contain product descriptions, but the descriptions can be either too general or too detailed, making it difficult to evaluate two or more products on their features. If the shopper has a question that is suitable for a human being such as a clerk in a shop, where does the online customer go to ask the question? There is something lost in not having an informed person accessible to provide an immediate answer. Many well-known online shopping sites now provide customer reviews-independent reviews provided by customers that have bought each product. These testimonials go a long way toward providing plenty of detailed information about a product so you can determine whether or not to purchase it.

In the USA online shopping malls and websites address the limitations found in the online purchasing process by offering near sufficient to a no-questions-asked return policy to ensure the happiness of the online customer. However, one downside of online shopping is having to wait to obtain the product, depending on whatever mode of shipping is selected. If a product needs to be refunded or came back for whatever reason, there’s the inconvenience associated with returning the product. This often consists of a phone call and trip to the local post office, after which one waits again to either receive a replacement or even refund. Compare this to just working the item and receipt back to a nearby brick front store and having either a refund or an exchanged product in hand within a few minutes.

Let’s take a talk about security. In a physical store, cash can be used, and if a debit or credit card is used the client gets to see who processes his / her card. Also, one is usually not required to provide personal information such as a name and physical address. Not so with online shopping, because the item must be addressed and sent to a person at an address. Cash can not be used online, so what entity processes the card and captures the personal info over the web? And how well could be the personal information protected? One way to greatly reduce danger when shopping online is to use virtual bank card numbers. These numbers are provided by credit card issuers such as Citi and find out, and can be used only once, so even if the credit card information is captured simply by some other entity during the transaction, this cannot be used to complete a second purchase. I use virtual credit card numbers while i shop online, and I highly recommend this particular practice.

Let us look at the benefits of shopping online. If the four-wheeled vehicle in your particular driveway is expensive to fuel up, then it’s an obvious plus to be able to shop the virtual market and save transportation costs. Additionally it is a “greener” arrangement-computers emit little if any carbon even when powered. For those who find it tiring to deal with crowds, there are none of them in cyberspace, and no lines to wait in during checkout. The magical on the internet domain has no weather to prevent one, either-all shopping is done in just a sheltered environment, safe from inclement weather. And there’s no need to worry about keeping one’s children together and in sight when online shopping. But perhaps the best feature of all is the cost savings that can be realized online. Online items may more often that not be purchased and shipped for substantially less, because the price doesn’t include any overhead expenses associated with having a physical brick and mortar store. Generally there is also no sales tax possibly, unless the merchant maintains some type of physical presence in the state in which the item is purchased. For example , Amazon. com only charges sales tax on orders that are shipped in order to Kansas, North Dakota, New York or even Washington, and Overstock. com only charges sales tax on purchases that are shipped to Utah. To sweeten the deal, many merchants provide special online coupons, coupon codes and promotional codes that provide additional discounts.

For instance of the money that can be saved when shopping online, I bought a “Cuisinart Prep 11 Plus” food processor and used the online comparison shopping engine from Shopzilla. com to find the best deal, which was at Etronics. com for $172 with no sales tax and free of charge shipping. A local Sears store had it listed at $199. 99 and would have charged about $16 in sales tax for an overall of $216. In this particular case I saved $44 (20%) shopping online and using Shopzilla to put online stores within competition for my business. Plus it only took me about 10 minutes associated with effort. With the advent of cheaper processing and increasing levels of online competition, people are generally becoming used to getting at the world through the eyes of the online world. So it is the coming thing, plus a tide that is not likely to be turned. All of us as a society have adapted to other significant changes over time, such as the arrival and convenience of air travel, trains plus automobiles over horses, and online shopping is yet another paradigm shift we will adjust to.

In summary, when looking at the pros and cons associated with online shopping, the pros outweigh the downsides, especially for items that are widely available and for which the best price is being searched for. Shoppers save time and money buying the actual need online and virtual store proprietors can run their businesses on far less overhead. The fact that the pros outweigh the cons is evident when one looks at the sharp boosts in online shopping that have occurred on a global basis over the past few years.