Online Shopping Vs Traditional Retailing
E-commerce is simply the act of electronically purchasing or selling goods over the Internet or via online facilities. E-commerce can be conducted virtually or physically and includes all forms of trade that are made between two or more entities over distances not exceeding a reasonable distance from one another. In e-commerce, goods are normally sold or purchased via computer systems. With the advent of the Internet, the entire business of buying and selling has become possible at a distance. With the evolution of E-commerce, an increasing number of people are making business transactions online through online auctions, websites, online marketplaces and auction houses etc.
The term ‘e-business’ refers to business online, which involves the sale or purchase of goods either by physical presence or by electronic commerce. There are numerous instances in which e-commerce has replaced the traditional mail order and telephone sales. Many companies are shifting their focus from bricks and mortar to electronic commerce. E-commerce is mostly conducted through e-commerce sites such as eBay, Amazon, Overstock, Craigslist, Shopzilla etc. Though e-commerce has many benefits to offer, it also has some disadvantages.
E-commerce is prone to hacking. A person may use a common computer virus to break into your network and gain access to your personal and financial information. Hacking can take place even while you are offline and if you conduct secure online transactions, this risk cannot be avoided completely. You must make sure that you have a highly secured computer system for safe electronic commerce. As an ecommerce merchant you need to take certain precautions to ensure safety of your customers’ private information.
E-commerce retailers incur certain overhead expenses. Since e-commerce involves online payments, it entails expenses related to payment processing. To protect your customers from fraudulent transactions and to avoid payment-related problems like chargebacks and unauthorized charges, a good ecommerce merchant must undertake preventive measures. It is highly recommended that a ecommerce retailer gets an Anti-Virus software program to scan all incoming and outgoing orders. This will not only give you assurance about the security of your clients’ personal information but will also help you avoid fraudulent activities.
E-commerce offers consumers a wide variety of products online that they can choose from. For example, if you run a store selling clothes, shoes, accessories, bags, gadgets, toys or books; you can sell almost everything on the Internet since you have a global market. In brick-and-mortar stores, you can sell only a few items because you are limited by the space of your inventory and you have to fulfill orders immediately after receiving them.
In a typical business setup, it is more convenient to purchase supplies from physical locations rather than ordering them online. Online shopping is more convenient because customers do not have to travel to the store in order to buy the products that they want to buy. Another advantage of E-commerce commerce over physical commerce is that the overhead expenses incurred during E-commerce are less compared to other forms of commerce.
Most E-commerce websites offer free-shipping services to their customers. Free delivery services make online shopping more convenient for shoppers since they need not bother their friends and families about the products and services that they want to purchase. Aside from free shipping and convenience of purchase, another benefit that online shoppers get from visiting an ecommerce website is products and services comparison. Since they do not have to travel or drive to different shops to compare products and prices, they can save time, effort and money that can be used for other important business transactions.
Although there are advantages of E-commerce over traditional brick-and-mortar stores, there are also some disadvantages that consumers should consider before engaging in online retailing. One disadvantage is that transactions can take a longer time than what one may expect. This is because most online retailers perform Internet processing using various computer programs, thereby reducing the time needed for data entry. Also, because of the reduced processing time, online shopping can sometimes be more expensive than traditional shopping. E-commerce websites usually provide their clients with cost-effective payment options such as credit cards, PayPal, direct payments and other electronic transactions.