Information technology has been a catalyst for development of numerous areas in today’s world. One of the many beneficiaries of IT is the business sector. Through the evolution of IT, various growths, expansions and improvements have happened, one of these are online shopping.
Online shopping is a form of electronic commerce which allows consumers to directly buy goods or services from a seller over the Internet using various devices. It became an important part of many people’s lives because it provides a new and more convenient venue for the exchange of virtually all types of goods and services. In fact, based on a study commissioned by Visa International, nearly nine out of 10 Filipino consumers do their shopping online. The study also reveals that those who prefer to do their shopping online spend an average 6.2 hours daily. Statistically, revenue in the “e-Commerce” market in the Philippines amounted to US$1,013m in 2016. The number of users have also been on a steady increase and have reached as much as 30.34m in the previous year with the expected to amount to 48.8m by 2021.
Both businesses and customers have embraced online sales as a cheaper and more convenient way to shop, but just like anything associated with the internet, there are benefits but there are also dangers associated with shopping online.
These are some of the things I think make online shopping more convenient:
- Convenience – Being able to shop virtually everything from the comfort of your own home? Yes please!
- Cost/Time Savings – Goodbye transportation costs and standing in line, hello more discounts and home delivery!
- Variety – The internet has unlimited shelf space, so there are wider variety of products than there would be in brick-and-mortar stores.
- No Pressure – A salesperson hovering around and pressuring you to buy an item? Nope. None of that.
- Easy Comparison: No more walking to and from stores! Just open a new tab.
In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be any drawbacks…in a perfect world.
- Risk of Identity Theft – When paying for your goods online, it can be very easy for someone to intercept sensitive information such as a credit card number, address, phone number or account number.
- Vendor Fraud – It can range from a defective / wrong / unsatisfactory product to no product delivered at all.
- Limited paying methods – What if I have no credit card? Nooooo!
- If your location isn’t ideal, shipping fees might be more expensive.
- Poor customer service – It’s the worst when you can’t track the status of your purchases!
- Poor product and seller review program – I’ll feel better shopping from trusted sellers as well as well-reviewed items.
Considering these positives and negatives of online shopping, I definitely am pro-online shopping, have been for years. I’ve bought plenty of items online but of course, i’m still always careful and wary. These are my “Yes please!”, “Am I in or Outs?” and “Just Nopes!”
“Yes please!” are things I wouldn’t even worry about, they are the safest to buy considering expectation vs reality standards, convenience and variety.
- Clothes – You won’t go wrong as long as you know your sizes, or if you have a favorite brand. But…if you know your sizes in your favorite brand? Homerun!
- Digital Media (music, movies etc.) – It’s just way more convenient than CDs or DVDs. Just stay away from viruses!
- Bags – There’s not much to bags, so you’ll rarely go wrong if you order them online. Just be sure to look at the measurements!
“Am I in or Outs?” are items I need to think about first. Impulse buying is the worst!
- Food – Is it a trusted seller? Delivery time? Is it fresh? Is there gluten?!
- Shoes – It’s a little more risk than others, if it won’t fit, returning it will be too much of a hassle. Although I’m still more comfortable fitting it in person, checking the size details and other description can still help you decide.
- Small gadgets / accessories – these items are usually inexpensive but it’s still safe to look at measurements, specs and all that small stuff that might not fit what you wanted.
“Nopes” are items that are just..nope. Too much financial or safety risk so I’d rather buy it in person.
- Medicine – You need professional help with this. Do not try this at home!
- Expensive appliances – If it’s expensive you need to think about the purchase thoroughly. You may have questions you need to ask that the product page will not have.
- Expensive Electronics – It’s just way safer to purchase in person. It’s okay to shell out some extra cash or energy, with this much money at stake, everything needs to go right.
Online shopping is rising industry, it is that because it has some obvious pros, but of course, there are also drawbacks. As long as we are responsible buyers, we can use this new tool to our advantage. To quote Kuya Kim, Maging Mapanuri, Mapagmatyag ,Mapangahas…Matanglawin!
- Shopping Online: Convenience, Bargains And A Few Scams: Morah. (nd). Retrieved from http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/08/buy-sell-online.asp#ixzz4efouAc7H
- A study commissioned by Visa International. The Visa eCommerce Consumer Monitor 2014.
- Philippine eCommerce Statistics. (nd). Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/outlook/243/123/e-commerce/philippines#market-users