TECH – With global profits from e-commerce expected to grow to $4 trillion by 2020, it’s clear that many of us are already regularly shopping online, and more are joining in every day. If you’ve not yet bought anything from a website, it may be that there are aspects of the process that you find off-putting. Perhaps you’re concerned about sharing your credit card details online, or you find the sheer diversity of choice online overwhelming. Maybe you just like the human interaction and experience of high street shopping. Nevertheless, it doesn’t have to be either/or, and there are many benefits of online shopping that you may not have considered.
Safe and reliable
First of all, online shopping is just as safe and reliable as making purchases in bricks and mortar stores- perhaps even more so. E-commerce retailers have invested heavily in technology to protect your private financial details and to make sure that goods arrive reliably, in good condition and on time. If this weren’t the case, they would soon go out of business!
Make sure you buy from a reputable site with an up-to-date security certificate. Check their refunds policy and be certain that your computer has proper virus protection and firewalls in place. Consider using a secure password generator to make sure you have a unique password for each site you visit.
Much more convenient
Convenience is the main reason most people give for choosing to shop online. You can browse and make purchases at a time that’s convenient to you, 24/7, from the privacy of your own home. The fact that nobody is looking over your shoulder watching what you’re buying may also be an advantage. There are no queues, no busy or pushy shop assistants, and no pressure. Plus, items like e-books can be downloaded instantly, and because there’s no physical product they won’t clutter up your valuable living space.
A democratic solution
Online shopping means that wherever you are in the country or even the world, you get the same huge range of choice as everyone else. So, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in a remote village or a big city, you still get the same choice of the latest fashions and new technology, usually with the option of next day delivery.
E-commerce has been a huge boon for collectors, who can buy and sell rare books and records that would otherwise take them years to track down. You can also compare prices and items without having to traipse up and down the high street, battling with crowds and obstructions- a not inconsiderable advantage for the elderly, the disabled, or just anyone with a busy life.
There’s no limit to the range of things people are buying online, from clothes and groceries through to travel and cinema tickets, televisions and even pets. In every case, a lot of the hassle you’d normally expect is automatically removed. For instance, buying a car in person can be a daunting experience. You’re expected to barter with a confident, persuasive dealer before moving on to the next one, and the next, comparing prices and offers. It’s no wonder if by the end of the day you’re confused, exhausted and stressed. Instead, you might want to consider buying online so that you can research, make comparisons, choose the model you want and negotiate the best deal without any of the stress and pressure this might otherwise involve.
Technology continues to progress at a rapid rate, and it’s making online shopping more convenient and attractive all the time. You can now look up items and buy them on your smartphone wherever you are, while getting a fully interactive view of products, watching videos of them in person and so on. The advent of drone deliveries looks set to reduce waiting times further, while 3D printing may allow certain items to effectively be manufactured in your own home while you wait.
Finally, there’s no getting away from the fact that buying online is often cheaper than shopping on the high street. Not only are you able to make real-time price comparisons to make sure you’re getting the best deal, but e-commerce sites don’t have the same overheads as brick-and-mortar stores, and pass on those savings to customers in order to stay competitive. Plus, you’re saving on travel costs, parking fees, buying food and drink while you’re shopping and so on.
If you’ve yet to make your first online purchase there’s no reason to hold off any longer. Whatever you want or need it’s bound to be available online with a greater selection of different options than in the shops. Browse at your leisure and buy when you’re ready: we’re pretty sure you won’t look back.