The Internet has highly impacted our lives in every possible way, only to make it easier and better. There are various ways our lives have been changed because of the internet and one such affected way, is the way we shop! Shopping is one routine habit that has been changed drastically due to the advent of E-commerce in our lives. Be it buying of household essentials, groceries, apparels, electronics, consumer goods, medicines or anything else; almost everything today is sold online through various e-Commerce platforms. Some of the ways in which e-Commerce has shaped how we buy are mentioned below.
Location - The online space has broken all barriers of location. It doesn't anymore if the location of the shop and buyer is different. All the retailers, merchants, businesses come together with the customer on a computer or a mobile screen. Unlike earlier the location of the consumer doesn't affect their shopping patterns.
Price - Due to the elimination of middlemen in the retail chain, manufacturers or distributors can directly sell online with reduced prices as margin goes up every time a middleman is removed from the chain. Also, due to high competition online with millions of vendors selling their products, merchants or retailers have to reduce prices to gain cost competitiveness.
Choice - Today there are millions of products online to choose from. Unlike earlier, where the options to choose were limited to a particular store or a particular physical market, online markets provide products from all over the registered vendors at one place that is your computer or cell phone. A customer can choose from a range of products based on price, brand, product type and specific variants.
Flexibility - E-Commerce provides flexibility in the buying process. It gives you the freedom to shop anything from anywhere at any time by just a click. A customer can browse e-Commerce sites and choose from millions of products even at the middle of the night from the comfort of their home. Unlike earlier, where the customer was time and place bound to buy a particular product, online sellers provide a flexible pattern to make purchases.
Convenience - Prior to the advent and success of e-Commerce, customers had to go through a lot of hassle for purchasing goods from the tangible marketplaces. They had to go all the way down to the market, search for goods at different outlets, visit again after some days if the required product was not available, visit multiple times to drop, collect products under repair or exchange due to some issue. E-commerce has made buying of products really convenient.
Relationship benefits -Customers get loyalty bonus and many other offers such as cash back or discounts as a part of relationship building initiatives by e-Commerce companies.
Easy returns - If the customer is not fully satisfied with the product, it can be easily returned by opting for return option online and an executive from the company will come and collect the product. The amount paid will be fully refunded as per company’s policy.
Offers - E-Commerce companies still have a competition with offline retailers and also with the other online sellers, hence to entice and attract more customers, big e-Commerce giants have periodic offers and discounts on different products ranging from groceries to electronics etc.
Time Saving- Online buying is a time saving process as the time spent to actually go to the market, visit different outlets, browsing through products at each outlet, standing in the queue for payment and going back for exchange or return, is saved by browsing through millions of products at home, and ordering and paying by one click.
Easy payment options -Customers have many options for paying online such as through credit cards, debit card, net banking or e-wallets. Customers can also pay via cash on delivery. All of these modes of payment together are not applicable possibly at any physical store.