Online shopping has been one of the most popular online activities apart from instant messaging, watching videos online, and using social networks. The progression of information technology in the 2010s, particularly advancements in data processing and the deployment of 4G broadband, allows information to be dispensed with high speed; thus, online transactions can be done efficiently, which affects the whole landscape of E-commerce or Online shopping.
Online shopping is a subset of e-commerce that requires purchasing products or items on a seller’s website via debit or credit card and getting the item delivered to your home. Online shopping can also be described as looking up products online via browsers and running online research. Since we already have an idea of what e-commerce is all about, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of Online Shopping and its impact in Malaysia.
3 Advantages of Online Shopping
Generally, convenience is one of the benefits of online shopping. Although some people still opt for shopping in-store since they can get the products instantly, a few factors can make online shopping way more convenient. Indeed, you won’t get your products on the spot if you don’t go to the physical stores, but you will make up for it by saving up on petrol or spending on Grab fare. A one-click feature is also available on many popular E-commerce sites to make things easy. Payment details such as credit card information can be safely stored for a trouble-free shopping experience.
Speed is another factor of convenience that benefits customers in the long run. It is one area where traditional retail seems to hold a dominant position over online shopping. Worry no more, as this issue has been reduced mainly by the expanding eCommerce order fulfilment process. Back in the day, it was not surprising to wait for one week to get your product delivered, which may sound like ages for most customers. An online seller or retailer with high-quality and smooth-sailing order fulfilment can send the product to you within 1-2 days. Some customers can get the product on the same day, benefiting the customers, sellers, and the e-commerce industry.
Another recent trend is the lower prices that customers get compared to buying those products in physical stores. Some online shopping carts ( a piece of software that manages the transactions in online shopping sites) will give out yearly subscription services that contain discounts and free shipping for every item bought. Many popular brands adopt this, such as Grab, Shopee, and Lazada. If this feature is not applicable, online buyers can still save money because they have the advantage of comparing prices and getting the best deal. This online price check doesn’t just benefit customers; retailers can also get a piece of this. Go to any research company in Malaysia, and they usually offer this type of service where they can get the latest pricing data most quickly. Retailers not only get to compare prices but can stay ahead of the competition by examining their competitors’ pricing.
Another drawback of physical store shopping is the accessibility of the product. As each store has its inventory, there is a high likelihood that the product you sought the most may not be available in that store due to high demand. Online shopping benefits that exclusive items or in-demand items are still available and can be purchased instantly. Online sellers do not have to set up and manage inventory since this inventory is centrally placed near customers in fulfillment warehouses. This central location makes it easier to ship the products to online shoppers anywhere.
There is also international eCommerce, where people that sell the products desired may not even be from your country; they could be global. If you can’t find that product within your country, you can still get it from other retailers abroad. Of course, with the ease of the internet and technology, this wouldn’t be a problem since the products can be shipped overseas, thus giving you more choice when shopping online.
3 Disadvantages of Online Shopping
Now we talk about the disadvantages of online shopping. Fraud is one of the main culprits that put online shopping down. However, there are certain cases when these online sellers can scam customers into buying their products or services. For instance, on Shopee, several sellers or retailers are selling third-party software, and the problem with software is that you cannot test or use it before buying it. What happened is that some customers are unable to use them. It could be due to the fake serial number given to the buyers, an expired serial number, or the software is simply non-existent. Other than that, these sellers do not accept cash on delivery and request online payment. Due to this, customers have to be extra careful when shopping online and make sure there are commendations and positive reviews issued to these sellers.
While we did mention the order fulfilment process earlier, what if it doesn’t go smooth sailing? The result wouldn’t be good news to the customers. In some cases, products may be delivered more than 4-5 days, making customers feel agitated or unhappy with the long wait. Imagine if you need that detergent product to clean up your house. It would be troublesome if your home is dirty and you have guests coming over soon if it arrives late.
One can forget about holding tangible products if they are sold via e-commerce or online stores. Clothes and electronic gadgets are just unique products that customers have no choice but to purchase before getting them. Looking at the images and product description may not suit those who want to buy the product only after trying it or examining it.
Intrack is a market research company in Malaysia that provides specialisation in FMCG companies and other businesses. Intrack offers comprehensive services in Online Price Check and Price monitoring online for E-commerce businesses that benefit not just the retailers but also the customers.