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Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Shopping

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 1528 words Published: 22nd Jul 2021

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Try a service you have never tried before on internet. Analyze the benefits of this service. Was enough information provided to make the service easy to use? How would you compare this service to other methods of obtaining the same benefits?


Online shopping is the process of buying goods and services from merchants who sell on the Internet. Since the emergence of the World Wide Web, merchants have sought to sell their products to people who surf the Internet. Shoppers can visit web stores from the comfort of their homes and shop as they sit in front of the computer.

Consumers buy a variety of items from online stores. In fact, people can purchase just about anything from companies that provide their products online. Books, clothing, household appliances, toys, hardware, software, and health insurance are just some of the hundreds of products consumers can buy from an online store.

Many people choose to conduct shopping online because of the convenience. For example, when a person shops at a brick-and-mortar store, she has to drive to the store, find a parking place, and walk throughout the store until she locates the products she needs. After finding the items she wants to purchase, she may often need to stand in long lines at the cash register.

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In contrast, online shopping helps consumers avoid these disadvantages. With online shopping, a person logs onto the Internet, visits the store’s website, and chooses the items she desires. The items are held in a virtual shopping cart until she is ready to make her purchase. The shopper can remain in her pajamas as she does her shopping, and the process can be conducted in the wee hours of the morning or late into the night. Online stores never close – they’re open 24 hours a day.

Despite the convenience of online shopping, not everyone chooses to purchase items and services online. Some people like the idea of physically going to a store and experiencing the shopping process. They like to touch the merchandise, try on clothing, and be around other people. Online shopping doesn’t permit shoppers to touch products or have any social interaction. It also doesn’t allow them to take the merchandise home the same day they buy it.

Other people may worry about shopping online because they fear their credit card information will be compromised. Since it’s necessary to provide credit card information when purchasing products online, people worry they may become the victims of identity theft. This discourages some consumers from participating in online shopping.

Another reason some consumers avoid shopping online is the fact that they worry that the products they purchase are not accurately portrayed in the website’s picture. They worry that the picture of the item may appear one way, but the actual item may look completely different – perhaps of lesser quality. It’s also impossible to try on apparel when conducting online shopping.

A consumer has to rely on body measurements in order to make sure the clothing will fit properly. If the clothing arrives in the mail and it’s too small, the consumer has to return the item. This is a potential inconvenience that some shoppers may not wish to face.

Advantages of Online Shopping

Incredible convenience: In comparison to a brick and mortar store with fixed hours, online shoppers can choose any time of the day or night to get on the Web and shop. This is especially useful for moms with small children, people that are home-bound, or simply in times of inclement weather.

Price comparisons: When you visit a store, you most likely have to settle for whatever price the vendor has placed on a particular item. Not so with online shopping – you have the ability to compare prices from hundreds of different vendors (see The Top Nine Comparison Shopping Sites).

Infinite choice: Shelf space in a brick and mortar store is limited, which means that your variety of goods is limited. Not so with an online store. Plus, if you don’t see what you want in one store online, you can simply move on to the next one – you’ve got the power to do that.

Easy access to consumer reviews: It’s easy to access consumer reviews for pretty much any product you can think of online, which makes for more informed purchases.

No pressure sales: We’ve all been awkwardly propositioned by eager salespeople. You don’t have to put up with that online.

These are just some of the advantages of online shopping. Are there disadvantages? Let’s look at a few that might deter some customers from buying goods online:

You can’t try things on. If you’re buying a clothing item, you don’t have the ability to feel the material, try it on, and see how it’s made. Unless you know your measurements and are familiar with the brand of clothing offered, this could end up being a bad experience.

You can’t talk to someone immediately. If you have a question about what you’re looking at, you probably will have to wait at least 24 hours to get a question answered (however, many sites have “instant chat” enabled that take care of this issue).

Privacy and security: Privacy and security are legitimate concerns for any online shopper, but there are precautions you can take to make sure your transaction is a safe one. For example, paying attention to HTTPS protocols, installing free spyware removal tools, knowing how to identify online scams and hoaxes, surfing anonymously, and keeping your Web usage private are all smart ways to address any privacy and security issues.

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Disadvantages of Online Shopping


Normally when we shop from a regular store, we can see the item and at least visually inspect that it looks fine. You can select a co lour, size and can even speak to a sales person to clarify doubts regarding an item. I feel the biggest disadvantage of online shopping is we do not physically see the item till it arrives. May be you have seen it in the nearby mall but there is a possibility that the particular piece you have ordered may be defective. Misinterpretation or misunderstanding of items bought online is a common problem. Usually the photo of items you see online are much better than once you have the item in front of you.


Once you place you order the waiting game starts. You have to wait for a few days for the item to arrive which can be quite frustrating. Most experts believe that we are most excited about your “buy” in the first few days, so by the time your item arrives you will most likely be less excited then getting the item on same day you made the payment.


What if the item you are expecting never arrives, you will be lost in a series of phone calls to the seller and the courier company. What if you are not at home during the time of delivery and the courier company leaves the package on your door and a passerby decides to steal it? What if the shipping company broke your stuff and you realize it after opening it when the courier man has already gone away. The seller might claim that you broke it.


Only a few sites offer free shipping, some others will ship for free only if your total purchase price exceeds a certain amount. Shipping fee is often a big discouragement for online shoppers.


Even if the seller agrees to take back the defective merchandise, you often have to pay the cost of shipping it back. Additionally you have to call and convince the people regarding the reason of your return. Some good sites do have excellent return policy, but not everyone.

Comparison of Online Shopping and Offline Shopping

Offline shopping is becoming rather polar. Customers either want service, or they really *don’t* want service. It’s not that customers are unclear about whether they want to purchase, it’s that they are absolutely clear about why they are shopping. They either have a purchase in their minds, or they are shopping predominantly as a form of therapy, and simply wish to interact with the goods. Customers have reached a position where if shopping is entirely experience oriented and not goal oriented, then they find sales assistants a *disincentive* to enter a store. As they grow in sophistication, customers’ respect for, and tolerance of sales assistants is actually reducing.

So essentially the changes I see are a marked separation of goal oriented shoppers and experience oriented shoppers. Shoppers who have a specific purchasing goal in mind are time conscious and want service immediately, and at the lowest possible price. Shoppers who are experience-oriented find sales assistants irritating and officious. And I think the internet and online shopping is actually contributing to this polarisation process.


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