Internet shopping, or online shopping as it is now normally referred to is the process of finding and buying goods and or services via computer over the internet.
The basic requirements are pretty straight forward, a computer, and a debit or (preferably) credit card and secure passwords.
Online shopping has been ongoing for almost 15 years and as technology progresses it becomes easier and easier. The virtual explosion of the number of portable, hand-held devices, particularly the smart phone has increased online shopping many-fold.
Shopping online is very popular during holiday breaks, with customers avoiding crowded stores and shopping centres, traffic jams and car parking problems.
A successful online outlet is not necessarily just a good looking website with hi-tech features listed in many search engines. In addition to giving sound information, it is also about building a relationship with the customers and obviously earning money.
Understanding the customer’s needs and wants is essential, as is offering a user friendly returns and crediting system, and generally creating a pleasant and efficient experience to make a customer into more than just a one-off visitor.
It is important that the website communicates how much the company values its customers.
Prices of goods online are generally cheaper than in bricks and mortar retail outlets. This is because of the continuous compounding of expenses as goods are handled, categorised, or graded, and transported from distribution depot to distribution depot, before being delivered to individual shops, where they are again handled, categorised and both displayed and stored.
All of these activities obviously will increase individual item prices, transport has to be paid for, the handler’s wages and the shop assistant’s wages too.
Concentrating stock into fewer and usually very large warehousing units, can help to keep the price to the customer relatively lower.
Given that keeping stock in a very large warehouse type unit enables the retailer to carry far more available stock lines than individual high street stores, mean that less popular lines, perhaps extreme ends of the clothes size scale for instance, stores would obviously only reluctantly stock a very limited choice, whereas online retailers are generally holding a full range because of the ease of being able to do so.
Online security should always be something to bear in mind, and purchases by credit card are usually more prudent than debit card, given that, should any problem arise, you haven’t physically parted with money straight from the bank account, and have a window of time to sort things out.