Online shopping has showcased tremendous potential and can be even thought of replacing the conventional in-store shopping completely. This has been made possible through the phenomenal breakthroughs in information and communication technologies. Such technologies are shrinking geographical barriers into a virtual world. It has a ubiquitous effect on contemporary civilization, transforming everything from a workplace, working style to shopping and communications. The popularity of online retail is rising along with its foreseeable sustainable potentiality in the retail industry. There are many advantages of online shopping for the consumer. Therefore, more and more companies are willing to adopt it as the primary or alternative retail format (Nielsen, 2014).
Its easier to shop online
E-commerce offers customers the liberty to make purchases irrespective of a location (Khanna & Sampat, 2015). The ease of access and round the clock availability of online shopping is a big advantage. In addition to that, online shopping offers consumers the option of purchases from a variety of mediums and devices such as computers, laptops, mobile phones etc. Online shopping has made it convenient to purchase and send gifts or value credits that can be redeemed for a purchase (Panigrahi, 2017). It not only helps shoppers to be abreast with the latest trends but a hassle-free checkout also adds to the overall shopping experience (Rigby, 2011). It also provides easy redressal and returns options for unsatisfied customers. Furthermore, online shopping platforms are best suited for unobtrusive purchases of products like sex toys, lingerie, intimate care products etc. (Järvinen, 2017). Shopping health-related products and medicines are still expanding. It caters to one of the most underserved consumer desires (Yadav & Ghadigaonkar, 2015).
However, to make the best, it is highly essential for marketers to identify the perceived advantages of online shopping. These benefits have to be studied from the perspective of the target customers in comparison with the conventional in-store shopping (Chang, Cheung and Lai, 2005). Wang (2012) studied the benefits of online shopping from the consumers’ point of view. Consumers prefer online shopping for multiple reasons illustrated as below.
A conventional buying habit relies heavily on the consumer and salesperson interactions. However, online shoppers now look for product reviews along with consumer experience ratings to make the rational choice (Flanagin et al, 2014).
Online shopping offers competitive pricing and a wide product assortment
E-commerce platforms help businesses to save money from staffing, transportation and maintaining a physical store (Mazón & Pereira, 2001). Electronic data interchange (EDI) reduces the costs borne by the companies for manual entry of data, handling and maintaining of log books and paperwork. This helps in significant reduction in the cost incurred by labour and paper (Bhalekar, Ingle, & Pathak, 2014). With the cost of inventory management reducing, it is now possible for a business to showcase a wider, more inclusive and exhaustive variety of product listings (Srinivasan, Anderson, & Ponnavolu, 2002). This is a win-win situation for both the trader and the consumer who gets the product at the best competitive price. Furthermore, the choice of different portals provides the end consumer with an opportunity to compare the best prices (Shah, et al, 2016).
E-commerce has become a vital part of society. Online shopping has indeed revolutionized the traditional business models and transactions by providing newer and better opportunities. Breaking borders have never been easier than ever. It is due to these perceived advantages of online shopping that the industry is set to see a major boost globally, further deepening the woes for offline stores.
- Bhalekar, P., Ingle, S., & Pathak, K. (2014). The Study of E-commerce. Asian Journal of Computer Science & Information Technology, 4(3).
- Järvinen, E. (2017). Predicting Consumers’ Purchase Intentions for Sex Toys : An Application of the Theory of Planned Behavior.
- Lorenzo, L. (2017). Targeting International Customers in Japanese E-commerce: A Web Content Analysis of the Marketing Mix in Rakuten and Amazon. Retrieved from https://lup.lub.lu.se/student-papers/search/publication/8925523
- Mazón, C., & Pereira, P. (2001). Electronic Commerce, Consumer Search and Retailing Cost Reduction. New York. Retrieved from https://arxiv.org/ftp/cs/papers/0110/0110006.pdf
- Nielsen. (2014). Convenience is king in today’s retail world. Retrieved November 26, 2018, from https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2014/convenience-is-king-in-todays-retail-world.html
- Panigrahi, A. (2017). Exploring Indian Rural Market – Prospects and Problems. New Delhi: Asian School of Business Management.
- Rigby, D. (2011). The future of shopping. Harvard Business Review, 89(12), 65–76.
- Shah, R., Karishma Pathan, Anand Masurkar, S., Rewatkar, & Vengurlekar, P. (2016). Comparison of E-commerce Products using web mining. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, 6(5), 640–644.
- Srinivasan, S., Anderson, R., & Ponnavolu, K. (2002). Customer loyalty in e-commerce: an exploration of its antecedents and consequences. Journal of Retailing, 78(1), 41–50.
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