The Expectations of Online Shopping

Online shopping is going to blast. Nowadays retailers are adding in-store pickup, offer free shipping and experiment with social media. It is getting difficult to say who is pure internet retailer and who are bricks and mortar shops with online portals. All of them are reformulating how we will shop online in the future: via a mobile device, tablet computer, in store kiosk, etc.

New legislation might be required in order to protect the customers but this will also affect negatively online shopping. Internet retailers would have to collect sales tax. We will talk about legislation latter on in this article.

However, more and more traditional retailers are going for online selling. L.L Bean launched free shipping on all items, Macy’s offers free shipping on purchases of $99 or more, Walmart bought social media platform Kosmix in order to build their online business and Toys R Us purchased a new distribution center to support internet sales.

More and more retailers will implement in-store pick up. Walmart started already by offering in-store pick up for orders placed online. Sears and Kmart are testing home delivery. Farm Stores in Florida offer their shoppers to order groceries online and pick up at a drive through. Some smaller stores might even open designated pick up locations for goods ordered online (example Chronodrive).

Nowadays people who own a smart phone can use applications that allow them to do price comparisons or use coupons to purchase online. But we are just getting started with this type of technology.

New applications allow customers to upload video clips modeling new cloths or using a new purchase. This is a new feature but will definitely pick up quickly.

What about the power of social network like Facebook and Twitter? As a consumer you are able to “like” or follow a favorite retailer and get discount on deals. For example 12 million consumers “like” Victoria’s Secret on Facebook as of March 2011.

Jim Okamura (managing partner at Okamura Consulting) says that social shopping is just getting started. He mentions that Facebook offers good return on investment. However there are still lots of retailers that have not taken this advantage yet.

Online shopping is also going to help a lot of small niche online retailers. Via international or cross border e-commerce, they are now doing 10-20% of their sales outside their own country (example SousVideSupreme, Zara, Top Shop and StyleTrek).

There are nowadays more and more sites that cut through the din of so many sites and bring consumers only the information they are interested in: Dealnews, ConsumerSearch, Brad’s Deals and My Shopping Genie. There are sites you can use to find coupon codes, and possibly to make money while shopping online. There are also a variety of websites you may utilize to earn “points” or “bucks”. You can accrue these points and bucks and “cash them in” for goodies such as gift cards, real cash, accessories, electronics, so on and so forth (Swag Bucks).

A great advantage for consumers of online shopping is that as it becomes easier to compare prices (via My Shopping Genie for example) stores will be forced to create better experiences with better sales staff and items hard to find anywhere else.

In an article from April 2011 it was revealed that China shut down 410 websites involved in copyright violations and counterfeiting in the first 3 months of 2010. This is a sign that governments are now trying to interfere in legitimating online sales and making it safe for online shoppers. China’s online shopping has been booming (iResearch analysis). China has more than 450 million internet users, being the world’s largest. China’s online shopping transaction volume jumped 89.4 % year on year. About 148 million customers purchased goods or services online in 2010. China’s online economy grew rapidly in the first quarter of 2011, mainly driven by the development of e-commerce and mobile internet. Due to this increase in online shopping, local Chinese authorities are placing more emphasis on monitoring online shops.

Another example is Malaysia. Malaysians spent $739millions shopping online last year according to a survey released by PayPal. The PayPal’s growth in Malaysia last year was the strongest in the region Asia and India at 70%. The biggest percentage of online retail purchases are made on local websites. However the USA is the most popular country Malaysians bought from.

As we mentioned above, governments are now trying to make the online shopping safer for the customers.

In an article from ABC News from April this year, it is stated that the White House has developed a plan named the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) in order to fight online identity theft. The idea of this plan is to consolidate internet logins, kind of “Connect” for online shopping with the government’s mark of approval. Furthermore better security will encourage consumers and financial services companies to embrace payments through smartphones. The supporters of this system pointed out that the program would be voluntary. However there are pros and cons regarding this topic. The customers may benefit from these type of legislations but there are also disadvantages to it.

Online Shopping – The Pros and Cons

Are you are new to online shopping? Do you want to know the advantages and disadvantages of online shopping? If the answers to these questions are yes, read further to get more information on this new form of shopping, which is also called internet-based shopping.

Pros Of Online Shopping

When you do a comparison of traditional shopping with it, you will find that the latter is more advantageous. In the traditional shopping, there are time restrictions. Most shopping centers open in the morning and close in the evening. If you want to do the shopping in the night, where will you go? Well, you can’t shop at midnight, as most of the shopping centers will be closed at that time. With it, you can shop 24×7, which means that you get up at 0200 hours and look for your favorite DVDs online.

If you go for furniture shopping the traditional way, you will have to go from one shop to another in search for the furniture of your choice. A lot of effort goes into traditional shopping, which is not the case with it. You look out for the best furniture and then select it. Finally, you make the payment for the selected furniture using a credit card, and just sit back and relax, as the furniture will be delivered to you soon.

Electronics shopping is also very convenient in online shopping. You can compare the prices and features of most of the electronic goods and then make the purchase. For example, if you are searching for a cell phone, you can do a comparison shopping on a few websites and find the lowest price. The same activity will take hours together if you have to do it the traditional way, because you will have to run from pillar to post to get quotes for cell phones.

For online shopping, you need not wait in long queues. The greatest advantage of it is the convenience that it gives to the consumers or shoppers. For music lovers, it is a blessing in disguise. Music lovers can listen to the music and select the songs they like the most. Subsequently, they can proceed with the online payment by using a credit card.

Cons Of Online Shopping

Online frauds are the worst nightmares for shoppers shop there. There are some phishing websites that indulge in fraud and fleece money from customers. Online shoppers cannot check the product they are buying unless it reaches their homes. Tangible products that need to be touched and felt are sometimes difficult to buy on the Internet. Online shops or stores do not accept cash and check, so the shoppers not having a credit card or debt card cannot do shop online.

Online shoppers have to bear the shipping costs of the products in many cases. Although some websites say that they offer free shipping, you need to check the price of that product. The shipping costs are often included in the cost of the product.

How to Shop Online – Online Shopping Tips

Online shopping tips are not something that should be underrated or brushed aside. Online shopping is convenient, sure, but if you’re relatively new to online shopping then there are some tips and tricks that you should be aware of to make sure you get exactly what you ordered.

Now, I’m not saying that online shopping sites are out to trick us, however, I am saying that shopping online is not like shopping in person. And, if you don’t want to be stuck with something that doesn’t look anything like what you ordered then you’d do well to go through this short read.

Our online shopping tips cover the following points:

  • Reading reviews
  • Reading product specifications
  • Buying guides on site

Online Shopping Tips #1: Read User Reviews

User reviews are underrated but should be your first resource for checking up on many things like the product quality, availability with the seller you’re buying from, the fit and sizing and much more.

It should be the first place you check and should influence your buying choice. Many retailers also offer review aggregates online, which means that they’ll collate product reviews from multiple sources. This is helpful, but you should base your decision on user reviews, which is posted by users who actually bought the product.

Go through a few and keep an eye out for fake reviews; websites and sellers often resort to this underhand tactic. So, check the difference in the count of positive and negative reviews. A sizeable difference means that the general trend is accurate. A user review count difference which is not substantial may conversely reflect something fishy, so check out other websites too.

Online Shopping Tips #2: Read Product Specifications

I know this is one of those things that you assume the seller has manipulated, but it’s also the one place where the seller is actually telling you about the product. Also, for electronics or clothing, you should definitely not ignore this section. So, if you think the deal sounds too good to be true, then the product specification or description is the one place you should check to see if what you think you’re getting is actually right or not.

If the description is non-existent or too short then you can post questions, call the customer support of the website or check on the internet to see if other places are offering similar deals. Unlike what newcomers to online shopping might think there will not be a huge price difference in the product you want to buy across multiple websites, so if you see a big difference on only one website, then there could be something you might want to check further!

Online Shopping Tips #3: Buying Guides

Most top websites offer buying guides that are tailored to their product assortment. Most of the info is some thing that you can find on the internet anyways, however you should listen to what the best practices are the website states while choosing products from that website.

So, if you’re buying clothing, then buying guides are absolutely essential and you should prefer the ones on the website you’re actually buying from.

Conclusion:

So, there is nothing to it. Online shopping is easy and fun and also convenient. In addition, you’ll never be able to get the number of choices in a store that you get online; especially when online websites allow international sellers to transact on their website.

Thus, like it or not; online shopping is the future. Sooner or later everyone will need to wrap their heads around this concept. Fortunately, it’s simple and if you stick to credible websites you can be sure to be safe.

However, be sure that the website you are relying on is credible. Malicious users and websites will make sure that they appear legitimate to even the most discerning of users. But, by just spending some time shopping and getting to be familiar with the internet, you will be able to figure out which sites you can trust and which you should not, if you happen to land on one.