Among the most rapidly expanding industries worldwide is e-commerce, which refers to online shopping. Since the first online safe retail transaction in the middle of the 1990s, the underlying technology has undergone significant development.
Online shopping has gotten a lot easier and more comfortable, thanks in part to new and evolving technologies. It also typically results in lower prices for many different types of goods. And having those goods shipped directly to your home may be a huge time saver.
As a result, customers and retailers alike have benefited enormously in the last two decades. Businesses, both small and big, are trying to take their business online to avoid missing out on potential revenue.
While some consumers may appreciate the convenience of shopping online without having to travel, others are concerned about the environmental impact, time commitment, and financial burden of ordering online.
It will be fascinating and helpful to compile a rundown of the advantages and disadvantages of this phenomena, because online shopping is rapidly becoming an integral component in the lives of a great number of people.
India’s Most Popular Online Shopping Destinations
You may pick from a wide variety of options at any of the several e-commerce websites available nowadays. As far as online shopping goes, you can get just about anything you can think of, from fashion to electronics to furnishings.
Online portals are doing exceptionally well because of their quick order and delivery, easy exchange, return policies, and many payment alternatives. To such a degree that by 2024, it is anticipated that the global share of online businesses will reach a total of one hundred billion dollars. This has led to many significant firms opening their own online stores to serve their clients better.
Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, TataCliq, Hopscotch, Pharmeasy, Nykaa, Big Basket, Zomato, Swiggy, GoIbibo, Pepperfry, and Urban Company, to name a few of the big names in the market. Apart from all of these, new websites are launched on a daily basis in this highly competitive sector.
The below chart shows Visitors per month on Indian marketplace websites as of July 2021 (in millions)
Reasons for Shopping Online
- Home-shopping convenience.
- Reduced pricing and good deals.
- Helps to save both effort and time.
- Compare several makes and models.
- Large selection of goods to choose from.
- Product details in a comprehensive way.
Industry Expansion in Online Shopping Over the Past Five Years
It’s no secret that online shopping is on the rise worldwide. More than two-thirds of all retail purchases around the globe will be made online by 2023, up from only 14.1 percent in 2019 if statistics are to be believed. Since the first online safe retail transaction took place in the middle of the 1990s, the underlying technology has undergone significant development. As a result, businesses that do not make their goods and services available online are now missing out on potential revenue.
What happened with Covid-19 has completely revolutionized the globe. Online shopping has witnessed a significant uptick as part of the “norm these days” for a variety of reasons. Shutdowns have forced customers to buy online using contactless payments.
Below Bar Graph shows the Market size of e-commerce industry across India from 2014 to 2018, with forecasts until 2027(in billion U.S. dollars)
Advantages of Online Shopping
Online shopping is convenient. You may shop for anything, whenever you want, from the convenience of your home, thanks to the online environment. It doesn’t matter how hectic your schedule is; you can easily find time to buy online because websites are available around the clock. And they can be accessed from any location as long as you have internet connectivity. You do not have to schedule your shopping trips around store hours.
A wider variety of options
In contrast to offline stores, online businesses do not have to limit themselves to a limited number of items because their products occupy the virtual world. Furthermore, online shopping allows you to purchase anything from any vendor, regardless of their location. Buying a light, for example, can open up a more comprehensive range of possibilities for you than if you simply buy at businesses in your immediate neighborhood.
It’s not unusual to see large crowds at retail malls and other establishments around major celebrations, holidays, or weekends. However, when you buy online, you avoid the hassle of dealing with crowded stores and the competition for parking spots.
There are occasions when retailers try to pressure us into buying products that we don’t need. The upshot is that many of us purchase unnecessary items. On the other hand, online shopping doesn’t put us under any pressure to buy things we don’t really need.
Online shopping is also a great tactic to save money. Online merchants sometimes offer lower prices than their offline counterparts. Online sites like eBay provide a great way to save money on a variety of things. And the savings don’t stop there.
Reviews and Analysis of Costs
Making better-educated shopping choices is now much easier thanks to the availability of product reviews. It’s also a snap to compare the costs of various products and services.
Accessibility to a Global Market
Online shopping allows you access to products from around the world as well as domestic marketplaces. You can seek the goods in other countries if you are unable to find them in India.
Online customers can keep tabs on the progress of their orders, as well as the progress of their deliveries.
Easier expenditure report
When you buy anything online, it’s much easier to keep track of what you’ve purchased. It’s much simpler to keep track of financial transactions with electronic account statements and receipts.
No Transportation Concerns
When you shop online, the items you order will be delivered to your home unless you choose an option that allows you to pick them up at a physical store. You do not have to bother about transportation, petrol, parking, or lines.
The methods for returning an item online, including getting it replaced or refunded, are noticeably easier to access and more simple than the conventional return process. Usually, online businesses provide a replacement or refund warranties since customers can’t check or try on things before buying.
Save money by purchasing pre-owned or compromised goods
You may find various bargains on used or compromised goods by searching online e-commerce sites. Furthermore, it is a great spot to locate antiques if you are looking to buy them.
Disadvantages of Online Shopping
It would help if you examined the disadvantages of online shopping prior to actually making a final decision based on the advantages you’ve read about in this article.
Possibility of being duped
When you purchase online, you expose yourself to the possibility of falling victim to several types of fraud, including phishing, information theft, credit card thefts, and malware.
This epidemic has also led to an upsurge in scams. A slew of e-commerce spin-offs has popped up in recent years. You must exercise caution while engaging in online financial transactions since many fraudulent websites provide attractive discounts and offers.
Telephone calls bearing the name of trusted brands can be used to con people out of their credit card or bank account information.
Absence of retail experience
The retail ambience, knowledgeable sales associates, and unique smells and noises that can only be experienced in person make conventional shopping a wonderful experience. Indian consumers, on the whole, like going shopping. They look forward to it as a chance to go out and do some retail therapy.
When making an online purchase, keep an eye out for difficulties with the vendor. They have near-complete control over how a product is depicted. Thus they may misdescribe it in a deceptive manner. Additionally, it could be more challenging to converse with them compared to your neighborhood shop.
Offline businesses can also employ pricing strategies that many consumers may not be aware of. For example, a product could be advertised at a given price online, but the buyer might be surprised to discover that additional fees, such as those for expedited shipment or coverage, are required to complete the transaction.
Lack of sales help
While there is generally someone around to assist you at a shop, you are on your own during online shopping. So if you have a problem while shopping online, then you cannot immediately ask for assistance.
Occasionally, consumers must deal with a lag in the delivery of the goods they’ve purchased. Booking an order takes a few minutes, but it might take up to a week for it to be delivered. But if we are buying offline, we can acquire our merchandise right away.
No access to products for inspection or testing
When you buy any product online, you have no way of testing it out first. There’s no way to get your hands on a thing or view it up close with your eyes. This can be a problem with some products.
Complications and scams on websites
A number of websites demand you to sign up for their mailing list before you may opt-out. If you’re a victim of this practice, you may find that your inbox is inundated with adverts. There are instances when websites don’t provide enough product descriptions, or you’re unable to figure out how to make a purchase, make a refund, or get in touch with customer care.
Spend an excessive amount of time on the internet
The amount of time spent staring at a computer screen can lead to burnout, especially for those who work in a position that constantly uses a computer. It’s easy to get caught up in the online shopping frenzy and spend most of your day on the internet.
Effects on the environment
It is convenient for you to have your purchase brought directly to your front door after it has been wrapped in a number of layers of plastic and cardboard packing. However, this is not the best thing for the environment. Online shopping creates trash, even though you reuse the packaging.
That concludes everything that needs to be said about the advantages and disadvantages of shopping online. There is a lot more to learn about this issue than is included in this short write-up.
You have to master the art of online shopping without getting sucked into it. It would be best if you didn’t become hooked on shopping online since this can lead to a lack of control over your life. You should also give local businesses a chance and attempt to buy your everyday necessities from them.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to online shopping, and it’s up to you to decide how best to utilize them.
Do the conveniences that come with online shopping outweigh the potential drawbacks? Do you have any thoughts? When was the last time you made a purchase online? Please describe your experience and any difficulties that you’ve encountered in the comments area.