It’s very easy to get excited about shopping online. After all, when you see some awesome product picture that your buddy shares on Facebook, you can’t help but look for that product and buy it online. It takes all of 2 minutes to do it.
You just tap and tap on your mobile device and before you know it, somebody in a UPS uniform has a package for you knocking on your door. That’s how quick, efficient and convenient shopping online has become.
Gone are the days where you have to wait 21 days. Gone are the days where you have to put together a lot of cash for shipping and handling. That’s the awesome thing about market competition. When many different online companies get in the ecommerce game, they try to one up each other.
They offer free shipping. They offer lower prices. They offer better services. And the number one winner of all of this, of course, is the consumer. Amazon has truly changed the game and that’s why a lot of offline malls throughout the United States are going out of business. They simply can not stand the heat.
Even big box retailers that used to dominate the retail landscape like Sears and K-Mart and JC Penney are basically on their way to extinction or are already dead. That’s how things have changed thanks to shopping online. Accordingly, it’s very easy to see the advantages of shopping online.
You only need to see a product, look it up, compare the different retailers selling that product, click buy and you’re good to go.
You don’t have to drive
When you get in your car to go to the mall or go to some specialized retail boutique, you’re actually spending a lot of money for that little trip. You might think that it’s a nice little adventure and maybe that sense of being out and about would more than compensate you for your dollar loses.
But believe me, there are dollar loses. First of all, you’re spending time. Please understand that this is money lost. The old saying of “Time is money” is absolutely true. Why? You can’t be at 2 places at once.
So when you’re out there looking for the latest trinket, you’re not doing something that could be putting more money in your pocket. This is called an opportunity cost.
Second, you’re burning money in the form of gas, insurance, car maintenance and, of course, the amount of money you paid for your car. Even if you’re commuting, you’re still are out of some money. Well, all that goes away when you shop online.
All the cost is shifted to the seller. They have to take care of shipping. They have to worry about logistics. They have to worry about getting the stuff to you as quickly as possible.
If it wasn’t for the internet, it’s very easy for people to get ripped off. They go to a store that they know, whether it’s offline or online, and that’s the end of the discussion. What if that store charges 50% more than another store you haven’t heard of?
You’re basically out of luck. Well, thanks to comparisons shopping and all sorts of sophisticated comparison shopping engines on the internet, those days are gone. Even on Amazon, among sellers selling the exact same product, they’re cutting each other’s throats in terms of pricing.
So again, the consumer is king thanks to the internet and online shopping.
The disadvantages of online shopping
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a perfect thing. There’s no such thing as something that is always a good deal and believe me, online shopping is one of these things. While there’s a lot to get excited about, when it comes to online shopping, it does have its own fair share of disadvantages.
The first disadvantage of online shopping is you don’t get to handle the product right there and then. For example, you come across a product on Etsy or Pinterest, you get really excited about how it looks. You can’t even think of yourself without wearing that thing.
You can’t wait until you can put that thing on, use it and show it to your friends. But when it comes, you’re sorely disappointed. And what compounds this disappointment is you did comparison shopping. You did research. You did all sorts of things that responsible buyers are supposed to do and yet, there you are.
You feel let down. You ordered this thing and got it shipped and now you’re going to have to return it. It’s going to be a complete and monumental waste of time. Welcome to the club. This happens quite a bit with online shopping.
The good news is that this doesn’t happen across the board. For example, if you’re buying a certain brand of electronic product, you can go to a local store, check out the product and understand what you’re going to expect.
When you place the order online, you get the exact same product and there are no mysteries. The same can’t be said of clothing. This is the problem because clothing comes in many different materials. Maybe you’re not all that familiar with the material and there are also different types of cotton.
You may be familiar with one type, but when you buy something that’s supposed to be made out of cotton, it completely lets you down because it doesn’t feel or look like cotton. Do you see how this works?
Any kind of product that requires some sort of tangible experience for you to decide on it is usually not a good candidate for online sales.
The biggest danger I could see with online shopping is that things are so cheap and convenient that it’s very easy to just buy and buy and all of a sudden, have a house full of stuff you barely or never use. This is especially true if a hot new product becomes popular and it seems that everybody you know, love and respect are into that product.
Well, you jump on the bandwagon and you buy that product. You use it a couple of times and that’s it. If you don’t believe me, think of the latest fidget spinner craze that blew up throughout the United States.
The sad reality is if you have very little self control, online shopping can be financial suicide. In fact, I have several friends who have closets full of stuff that they buy online that they rarely use or never used at all.
Do yourself a big favor. If you have a tendency for impulse shopping, you might want to delete any online shopping apps and you might want to talk to a friend or your significant other and have that person be your accountability buddy when it comes to online shopping.
Otherwise, you’re going to have to deal with the massive sting of those credit card statements at the end of the month.