The Global Rise of Online Shopping
Over the past two decades, online shopping has gone from a niche fad to a vital part of consumer culture. The rise of the internet and social media has created a virtual marketplace for nearly every industry. Smartphones also changed the name of the online shopping game.
Today, the biggest increases in online popularity have been related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the coronavirus, about 28 percent of people globally shopped online. Today, more than one in three global consumers does their shopping online.
One of the current benefits of online shopping is that it allows for more social distancing, especially if you live in a place strongly impacted by COVID. But there are more benefits as well.
Some benefits that explain the global growth of shopping online, include:
- It's faster and more convenient than visiting a brick-and-mortar retailer.
- It's easier to find the lowest prices.
- Price comparison and product review websites
- You have more variety in your selection and more control over your purchases.
- Discreet purchases can be done privately.
- You don't have to deal with crowds or sales pressure.
Online shopping is far more convenient than going to a brick-and-mortar store. You can do it while sitting on your couch, sitting at the bus stop, or even walking from place to place while using your phone.
Some of the convenience features include, no need to get dressed, items are available for purchase 24/7, no need to wait in line or ask for help, no need to drive to the store, walk, or use public transit, and E-books and other digital products can be downloaded instantly.
On top of this, the digital downloads of e-books are good for the environment. They don't involve the packaging or shipping of any paper products, so you aren't wasting any trees or causing any gas emissions.
It's easier to comparison shop and find low prices online. Many online retailers have lower prices than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. In addition, you can often find coupon codes for additional discounts.
Online retailers frequently have major sales just like brick-and-mortar stores. You can look up when the nearest sale is to plan your next online shopping trip.
Price Comparison Websites
Before the internet, you would enter a shop at get all of your information around a products price and features directly from a salesperson. Now, the problem with this is, that this salesperson has one priority – making a sale. They are not always forthcoming with details on product reliability and pricing.
Price comparison and product review websites such as Picki Reviews and Money Saving Expert lift the lid of product features, reliability, and pricing. They find the best deals, and often have expert product testers thoroughly review and compare products. This wealth of information did not exist before the internet, and is another big reason for consumers to search and shop online, over high-street shopping.
Almost every retailer has an online presence, from giant department stores to small businesses. You can find the brands you're looking for and compare specific products, rather than needing to compromise.
You're also more likely to find products in stock in manufacturing warehouses. Buying directly from the manufacturers usually cuts the price.
Discretion and Privacy
Many online stores can send purchases in discreet packaging without the name of the retailer on the label. If you're buying something and want privacy, an internet retailer is your best bet. In a brick-and-mortar store, anybody can see you checking out, and the cashier has to view your purchase to ring it up.
No Crowds or Salespeople
Though online stores often have deals and upsells, you don't have to deal with pushy salespeople. You also don't have to put up with crowds.
Crowded venues can be a stressful nuisance even when there isn't a global pandemic. The lack of online "noise" makes it much easier and lower-stress to complete your shopping trip.
Online shopping has added a new level of convenience and ease to the consumer market. Whether you're purchasing goods or services, you can use the internet to find competitive prices. It also helps that you can read product reviews and in depth buying guides before making a purchase, so you're reasonably assured of the quality before you buy.