Yes, it’s true you can buy almost anything on the Internet. The Internet has given everyone access to endless information and a new way of shopping without leaving your chair. Online shopping is the process of purchasing goods and services on the web.
To start Internet shopping, you need a computer, Internet access and a valid credit card. With these at your finger tips, you can already go into an online mall and find the best deals on a whole range of products and services. You can buy groceries online as well as electronics, books, clothes and fashion accessories, hardware and household items and many more. The list is endless.
Benefits of online shopping
- Convenience. You can shop at anytime of the day and week. The item can be delivered anywhere you choose. If you forgot that your wedding anniversary is coming up, online gifts are just a few keystrokes away.
- Wide range of choices. There are so many products to choose from. Manufacturers sell through their own company website or as part of an online shopping directory. You can even find products from all over the globe.
- Price selection and features comparison. Great bargains are on the web. Shopping sites allow you to compare different brands of an item with their corresponding price and features all in one page. You can even find coupon codes for additional discounts.
- Information and product reviews. Product reviews are available. This is a big help when you want to know what the users’ experience is with the item or service.
- Eco-Friendly. Because you don’t need to drive to the store you save gas and don’t increase your carbon footprint.
- No pressure to buy. There is no sales person pressuring you to buy an item. In Internet shopping, if you really need more information on a product, companies and stores have a FAQs (frequently asked questions) page, a toll-free number to call or an email address to contact just in case.
Pitfalls of online shopping
- Security and fraudulent companies. Many are afraid to buy online because of the fear that their credit card is not secure and that the online store is illegitimate. Check if the website has a third-party seal of approval from the Better Business Bureau Online or from TRUSTe. Buy only from certified web shops and read the user reviews.
- Costly shipping costs. Although you can find great deals on the Internet, be aware of the shipping costs and other additional charges. Sometimes, it is more expensive to buy one music CD than buying three or more items. Shipping costs tend to be more expensive for a lesser number of items purchased.
- Product is substandard. Since you only see a photograph and cannot inspect the actual item, there is a potential of getting a substandard product. Returning the item may also be inconvenient and costly.
- Delivery time. If you want the product in your hands as soon as you pay for it, Internet shopping may not be for you. Delivery usually takes weeks or becomes more expensive if you opt for a faster delivery time.
Online shopping has a lot of advantages, aside from it being convenient and time saving. However, it also has some pitfalls that you should always be aware of. If you shop smart, just like when you buy from a regular store, online shopping can definitely be a rewarding experience each time.