We can all agree that online shopping has come to stay.
Everything we see — food, clothes, gadgets, services, etc. can all be gotten from one tap on your mobile devices. Thanks to the three years of the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce or online shopping has accelerated at a fast pace as a result of the lockdown.
What Is Online Shopping?
Online shopping is a form of electronic commerce that allows consumers to directly buy goods and services from a seller over the internet using a web browser or a phone app. Consumers find a product or service of interest by visiting the retailer’s website directly or by searching among alternative vendors using a shopping search engine, which then displays the same product’s availability and pricing at different e-retailers. It can be grouped under types of e-commerce and each day, the industry grows.
Here are some of the facts about online shopping:
- The market size of online shopping is estimated to be 4 billion this year.
- An average e-commerce site earns nearly $330,000 in monthly revenue by the end of 12 months in business.
- By 2040, over 95% of all products will be made online.
- Globally, retail e-commerce sales are around $3.53 trillion and revenue for e-retail is estimated to go up to $6.54 trillion.
- Some of the biggest online shops globally are Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Etsy, and Home Depot. At the same time, in Africa, the likes of Jumia, Konga, Takealot, Kilimall, and Bidorbuy are regarded as the go-to sites for online shopping.
Benefits of Online Shopping
1. Convenience: This is the biggest advantage of online shopping. With just a few clicks on your device, you can buy and order anything you want from the comfort of your home. This is particularly helpful for busy people who work and don’t have the time to go to stores to buy things. It is a time saver.
2. No crowds: This is also a benefit of online shopping. Usually, stores can be overcrowded during sales, festivals, holidays, or weekends and this can affect one’s shopping.
3. Privacy for discreet purchases: Some items are best bought secretly and online shopping provides this. This benefit enables shoppers to buy those items without the prying eyes of people. It saves the embarrassment and unnecessary judgement from people.
4. Easy price comparisons: One of the amazing things about online shopping is that you can simply and easily compare prices between different stores. Most of the items online store’s website are arranged in a hierarchal order to see which products are the cheapest quickly.
5. No sales pressure: When we shop, we sometimes end up buying things we don’t like and if you are like me, you wish you could say no to marketers when they advertise their products. Online shopping removes the pressure when buying any product.
Drawbacks of Online Shopping
1. Unable to touch or try the products: This is one of the major disadvantages of online shopping, which is sometimes frustrating. In a traditional store, you are permitted to touch and sometimes try the products. This applies to clothes, jewellery, shoes, and other material things. However, online shopping can also be a problem for consumers buying a product that is not available in their size.
2. Shipping expenses: This is what sometimes makes or breaks an online business. After buying the specified product, the buyer has to worry about the shipping costs which are most times expensive depending on the product.
3. Unable to find a specified product: This can also pose a problem for the online shopper. The buyer may be looking for a specified product, but the online store might have an extensive inventory which is challenging to go through.
4. Complicated scammy and unfriendly website: This is the major and most important disadvantage that sometimes scares people from shopping online. This is because some sites require you to open an account before making purchases. It makes it impossible to unsubscribe. Some sites take it further by selling your details and this will, in turn, flood your device with ads about the online store, and some websites also end up being scammers who are trying to rob.
We have seen what online shopping is, the benefits and drawbacks. This tool, therefore, must be used responsibly. We must avoid becoming too dependent on internet shopping, by not buying everything we see. Also, we need to provide regional merchants with an opportunity and make efforts to buy regularly utilised goods.