The term online shopping aka e-commerce is not new. It exists since the last 25 years ever since Amazon established their presence in the US. In India, the e-commerce boom started in 2000 with the arrival of Fabmall. We had purchased several products from the Bangalore-based company, which was famous during that period. The company sold several trending products such as Palm handheld and other items. However, they failed to grow after a certain stage due to financial crunch.
The online shopping segment in India changed completely with the arrival of Flipkart in 2007. Founded by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal (not brothers), the company initially sold books and then tested waters by selling mobiles, laptops and other electronic items. We also saw several companies such as Snapdeal, Lenskart, Healthkart, Nykaa being established to sell exclusive products. The e-commerce industry got a big boost with the arrival of Amazon. The company is currently selling a wide range of products under various categories.
It’s easy to purchase products from the comforts of your home. Have you ever thought of the advantages and disadvantages of online shipping? In this article, we will examine the pros and cons of online shopping.
Online Shopping Pros
The big advantage of e-commerce is that the amount of comfort it provides. You need not have to walk into the busy and crowded streets. You just need to navigate the website, add the product to the cart and purchase. Nowadays, companies are offering a wide range of payment options ranging from Cash on delivery, Net banking, Debit/Credit card, Mobile wallets and much more. It is possible to keep track of the order right from the packing stage on websites such a Flipkart and Amazon.
Even though bargaining is not possible directly with e-commerce stores, you will be able to avail discounts. If you purchase during special shopping seasons such as Flipkart Big Shopping Days, Big Billion Days, Amazon Great Indian Sale, you will be able to avail flat discounts for several products. Moreover, you will be able to enjoy discounts if you purchase products using specific debit/credit cards.
The real beauty of online shopping is that companies provide cash back up to a certain limit. Amazon provides special cash back in the form of Amazon Pay if you purchase products during special seasons. You have to keep on checking the site for information about cash back. This is a way to retain and also to maintain trust among customers.
You can check out reviews of the products you are planning to buy. Flipkart and Amazon provide Verified Purchase badge, which indicates that the review is posted by a customer who actually purchased the products. Once you are satisfied with the reviews, you can proceed to purchase the item. If you are not satisfied with the reviews posted on Amazon, you can proceed to check out reviews on other sites such as Flipkart and Snapdeal.
It is possible to compare the price of the product on various e-commerce sites before purchase. If you are planning to purchase Oppo F7, you can compare the price and offers on both Amazon and Flipkart. You can take a decision whether to purchase the item or not after that. You won’t be able to compare the offers if the product is exclusive to a particular company. For instance, OnePlus 6 is sold only by Amazon and hence not possible to compare the price. Even though you can use third-party price comparison sites, it would be better if you manually browse the relevant site.
The advantage of online shopping is that you can return items within a specific time if you are not satisfied with the product. However, companies have adopted strict measures to tackle fake returns. To return a product, you have to go through the process and steps provided by the seller. The return process of Amazon India is easy when compared to that of the Flipkart. You can resolve disputes via live chat. Flipkart allows you to cancel the item till the package is delivered. You can even reject items during delivery and the item will be canceled. However, once you have accepted the package, it’s difficult to return.
Online Shopping Cons
The big drawback with e-commerce is the price fluctuations. For instance, if you purchase Google Home Mini for Rs 4000 today, tomorrow the cost will be Rs 3500 or less. You can’t predict the future price. This happens with offline purchase as well but when it comes to online it matters because you are directly viewing the decrease in the price of the specific computer or mobile. We have seen reviews of customers who shouted loud when product price decreases after the purchase.
Wrong product fear
The problem with online shopping is the fear of getting wrong product. What happens if you receive a soapbox instead of a smartphone? Although this problem is rare and occurs one among 10000 buyers, the fear won’t go away until you open the package after its receipt. If you are worried, you can opt for Cash on delivery (COD) method and open the package before payment.
Unable to touch products
You won’t be able to touch the products before purchase. However, you will be able to view the images of the product in various angles. You can also search on YouTube to view the actual look and feel including packaging of the product. You should also worry about bad packaging, damage to the product during transit including possible customs duties if you purchase products from abroad.
The return process is comparatively easy when it comes to the online shopping. However, you will find it difficult to return items if you purchase directly from the seller. You will have to establish contact with the seller manually and sort out the matter. Nowadays, companies have adopted stringent measures for the returns. You will not be able to return mobiles, laptops purchased from Amazon just because you didn’t like it. Amazon only provides the free replacement for electronic gadgets. The return process involved with Amazon and Snapdeal is easy when compared with competing companies.
If you establish contact with the e-commerce companies, you normally get template answers such as “We are looking into the matter and will get back to you within 24 hours”. However, companies like Amazon provide rapid response via live chat. You can also contact sellers directly via Amazon platform. This facility is not possible with Flipkart and Snapdeal.
The online shopping simplifies the lifestyle of buyers to a great extent. You can buy trending products not available in offline retail stores right from the comforts of your home/office or even during traveling using the relevant apps. We hope that you have learned the various advantages and disadvantages involved with online shopping shortly called as e-commerce. It doesn’t hurt to know the various drawbacks so that you can buy products accordingly. The above article is based on my own experience. Please write down your comments below about your online shopping experiences.
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