Online shopping has been very familiar to many of us nowadays. Due to the convenience, we often shop online for books, clothes, or even tickets for concerts, hotels, and flights, etc. While those online retailers started to take over the industry, we started to question ourselves, what are the advantages and disadvantages of online retailing?
Advantages for Customers:
- More Options
- Better Price
Disadvantages for Customers:
- Shipping: Time Consuming/Potential Damages
- Miss-leading Pictures
- Social Interaction
Online shopping is indeed convenient. Customers don't need to go outside to shop; they can do it simply by moving their fingers. They are also able to browse several online retailers at the same time to find the best price. Especially for people who live around LA without a car, like myself, online shopping is the best way for people like me. For some customers, Online shopping sometimes offers certain privacy because they can buy whatever they want without meeting people face to face. Moreover, while people are getting more and more familiar with those technologies, anyone can be the consumer, and anyone can be the supplier. An article, How the Internet is Affecting Retail Permanently, mentioned several C2C examples such as Amazon and eBay.
Advantages for Retailers:
- Has Less Cost than Physical Stores
- Can accept orders 24/7
- Increase Sales Volume
- Easy to Advertise
Disadvantages for Retailers:
- Return is Too Easy for Customers
- C2C is Too Common
For Retailers, it is easier to manage the business, all they need is the warehouse and an office, hire couple people to start they own online retail business. Plus, it is less costly to running the business than running a physical store, because online stores don't need to open stores in different locations to find customers, so they don't have to pay the rent for the stores, don't need to hire so many people to work in the store, they don't even need to pay the rents for expensive locations. Also, online stores doesn’t need to close, in other words, the business can be expose to people almost 24/7 to fit different groups of customers needs.
Though online retailers should acquire immediate adaptation all the time to fit the customers. Also, since return is too easy for customers, some of the customers might violate that service to buy a lot of clothes, try on, or sometimes even attend events, then return them. It is reasonable for people who wants to try on clothes, and they sure to have the right to return the product if they don't fit. However, to the retailers, this kind of situation will create a lot more works and lower the efficiency. It is better to take this kind of situation into account while planning out their business policies. That is, the retailers should manage this very carefully in order to reduce the unnecessary return processing, but by the ways that will not lower their service quality down.
Although, there are still many concerns for both the retailers and the consumers about online shopping such as how secure for customers to use their credit card online, or how retailers manage to ship the products safe to minimize the damage of the products. It is indeed the trend for today.