Sunday, May 9, 2010

Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Shopping

With the current fast moving internet technology, many things had moved to online including online shopping. I believe most of us have shopped or purchased online, at least when you booked your Airasia Now Everyone Can Fly tickets. I myself had done some online shopping and I listed below the advantages and disadvatages of online shopping:

1) Save your time
If you are someone who spend most of your time in the office and only go out during lunch, you know how valueable is the 'outside time' for you. Or, if you are a busy mum, you will find it hard to go to the store with your kids around. For conventional shopping, you need to plan for your trip and most probably you will need to spend some time from the journey to the store. Through online shopping, you save your time by just a few clicks on your computer mouse. Within a few days, you will receive your items at your preferred location.

2) Convenient
This is much related to the first advantage above, save your time. It is also very convenient to shop online. For example, to purchase air ticket at the ticketing counter, you will need to drive to the location, park your car, get your queue number and wait for your number to be called. With online shopping, you will get your airline ticket done in just a few minutes at the comfort of your home.

3) 24x7 - anytime and anywhere
For conventional shopping centre, the business hour is limited, usually range from 8am to 10pm. But, for online shopping, most of the online store is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can shop and order anytime of the day and from anywhere, as long as your are connected to the internet.

4) Cheaper price
Due to lower maintenance cost in term of workers and business premise, online stores able to sell with cheaper price compare to those item in the conventional stores or supermarket. If you purchase in bulks, you can get more discount as well.

5) More choices
In some locations, their desired products might not be available at their local store. So, online store can solve this issue. Online store also provide more choices for its shopper. It is much easier to browse the available item from a web browser rather than walking in the store. And it is easier to go to another online store compare to go to another ifferent conventional store. Which again, help you to save your shopping time.

6) Readily available information
Usually for online store, the product informations are readily available on the site. Buyers are free to access to the informations and some even provide instant reply for questions related to their products. Some buyers (like me) prefer to read the available informations on the products rather than having a sales assistant bugging me or following me around.

7) Products review
Most of the online shops also come with product reviews. This is especially helpful in providing more information for the potential buyers. Positive products review will definitely help the potential buyers.


1) What you see online is not what you get
For online shopping, there is no testing before purchase the products. The picture of the product might look great on the website but when you received it, it looks different. For example, a dress which look very nice on the online model might not look nice on you. So, for purchase which you need to try, to test and feel it, online shopping is not a good idea.

2) Chances of fraud seller
For experienced online shoppers, this might not be a problem but for novice shoppers, they might be cheated by fraud sellers. Upon receiving the payment, they might not received the promised products. It is best to check the rating of the seller before do any online puchasing. Be sure only to purchase from good rating sellers.

3) Misleading information
To impress their potential buyers, some online shop owner might provide misleading information about their products. It is adviseable to read more especially user review before purchase the product online.

4) Online payment security issue
For online purchase, most payment mode are through online as well. Because of this, there is a higher chance of payment security issue. Be sure to shop on secure store. At least, the possibility of credit card fraud or orther online payment method fraud is minimized.

6) Disclosure of personal information
Before any online purchase, buyer will need to disclose their personal information. This is for payment and shipping purposes. You never know who's at the other side viewing your personal information.

7) Computer and internet service requirement
To be able to shop online, you must have a computer with internet connection. And some basic internet knowledge as well. That is why most of the online shoppers are younger generations. Not many grandma and grand dad shop online.

8) System down
When the system (either yours of theirs) is down, online shopping is not possible to be done. But, usually, the system won't take so long to be back operating as usual.

9) Expensive shipping fee
For some products, the shipping fee might be more expensive that the price of the purchased product. For example, to purchase a set of skin care from US, the cost of the shipping from US to Malaysia is much more expensive than the skin care itself.

10) No human touch
For conventional shopping, there is always sales asssistants whom we can ask for advice or for help. But, for online store, you will have to help yourself. For purchase which you need some human touch, it is better to get it from the conventional stores. Only after you are confident which product you wish to buy, then should go for online shopping.

11) Long wait for delivery & lost items
Depending on your location and the type of the delivery service you are paying, the waiting time can be quite frustating. Some items can be lost as well.

Based on the above information, it seems like the disadvantage is more than the advantages. Nevertheless, I still believe online shopping has a promising future. Or, is there any points which I had missed out? Feel free to share your view.


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