The Pros and Cons of Online Shopping
Online shopping can save a lot of time because there is no need to go to a physical shop. The consumers also can save fuel and money, as the fees of internet connection is lower compared to the fees of travelling by vehicles. According to Lombardo. C, online shopping makes comparing prices easy for everyone. Many online stores often sell the similar and same products. On the internet, buyers can easily check and compare prices with just a few clicks here and there. This allows the consumers to decide freely which online shop provides more affordable goods. They can also compare reviews of the products they intend to buy in different websites. For example, from the figure 1, the consumers can compare the prices and ratings of Vans sneakers from Zalora and Lazada’s websites. The price of Vans sneakers on Zalora’s website is RM225 whereas Lazada’s sells it for RM300. This shows that Vans is cheaper by RM75 when bought from Zalora’s website compared to Lazada. Therefore, the consumers can carefully make their choice before purchasing the wanted goods. Apart from that, according to Lombardo. C, consumers can have a larger range of choices to make when shopping online. When they are shopping online, there are no local restrictions.
Consumers can buy goods or services they want or need from all over the world. Although shipping charges for purchases from foreign countries are higher and goods may take up to 6 weeks to arrive, there are few restrictions. They can buy the things that are unavailable or rare in Malaysia such as a special pattern of winter coat as shown in the figure below. Besides, there is no need to queue up to pay. Shopping online is convenient as quick. The consumers can add the goods or services on the site’s shopping cart, and then get ready to check out. All of the items have a clear price stated. Shipping charges are also calculated automatically. The sales tax is also automatic populated as well, though some purchases may not require taxes to be charged. The consumers just need to select all the desired items. The total price will then be calculated digitally. Moreover, products sold online are usually cheaper than those sold in stores. According to Montaldo. D, many online shops sell products at a low price as there is no need to spend on operating costs. The operating costs of local stores, such as utility bills like electricity and water expenses, are at least partially factored into the cost of the product. Many stores offer discounts on products purchased online compared to products purchased in their stores to encourage online shopping. For example, there are many promotional events like 11.11 global shopping festival which includes many online shopping platforms like Taobao, Lazada and Shopee. Vouchers and discounts will be up for grabs.
The items’ prices will be lower than usual if they make purchases on that specific day. According to shopping trends, when shopping online, the consumers are also free to select the express shipping options. For those who are guilty of often waiting until the last minute to buy items such as gifts, the shipping methods are especially beneficial to them. Shoppers will have the advantage of being able to buy items the day before they are necessary and deliver them directly to the necessary party though shoppers will pay for more express shipping. Gift receipts as well as gift wrapping options are also benefits of the shipping options. For those who are interested in sending gifts to friends and families can choose this option. By doing this, they can save a lot of time, because gifts can be sent directly to their friends or family members, instead of first sending the gift to themselves, then wrapping it and then sending it to the recipient. The ability to send gift receipts is also important because it allows the recipient to return or exchange items without disclosing the price of the gift. There are many shipping companies in Malaysia. For example, some of the famous ones are DHL express, PosLaju and Skynet Express Tracking.
The cons of shopping online is that the consumers can’t see the actual product you’re buying or the service provider in-person. People must believe that the description of products or services is accurate in order to satisfy their needs. Products can’t be tried before they are purchased. Consumers do not have any ways of finding out how much value a product has when shopping online. For example, shoes and clothes cannot be tried on. Therefore, it is better not to buy clothes online because the consumers can’t know whether the clothes look good on themselves if they don’t try them on first. Their expectations may be quite different from reality. Most of the time, being able to feel, touch and see something influences the buyers’ decision making. Sometimes, the consumer may buy clothes that have a huge difference in colour when comparing the pictures posted in online sites versus the actual product. The sizes may be wrong or inaccurate too. Shopping online may be frustrating. Electronic devices cannot be verified until they have been received. This means that online shopping has certain risks, even if the product description is accurate. There are some things that the consumers can try in a physical store, but they can’t try them online or see them in person. Therefore, there’s a lot of uncertainty when shopping online. According to Mittal. T, when shopping online, the consumers can’t guarantee the quality of their products. Reviews aren’t always reliable and the whole research does not guarantee the quality of the products.
There are frauds that deliberately mislead consumers to increase their sales, which is the main reason they sell inferior products online. As the number of goods handled by e-commerce companies increases, it is quite difficult to check the quality of every product they sell. Therefore, the consumers must check the ratings and comments of a product before purchasing them. In addition, there is no guarantee of delivery. Websites rely on third-party transportation companies to deliver products to consumers. It is not guaranteed that that product will be in perfect and desired condition when it arrives. The company may not be able to deliver the specified product too. The consumers need to call to confirm the situation or urge them to send it as soon as possible. On the other hand, the shipping companies will usually provide returns, replacements and insurance. By returning the items, a consumer’s use of that item is delayed. However, the consumers know exactly what they will bring home that day if they go to the physical shop. Shipping costs or delays may be possible. According to Jessica, some websites offer free shipping, but only If the total amount purchased by a consumer reaches a precised amount, such as RM50 or RM 100.
Other sites charge a fixed shipping fee for every order, no matter the circumstance. Sometimes, there are some problems in the websites. The usability of the product may not be reflected on the websites. The consumers can pay for the order, but only receive a message that the order is expired or unavailable. The refund will be processed later, but it may take 5-30 working days to complete. It is a problematic issue for some consumers. According to Wallbank manufacturing, delays due to late delivery of parts can reduce their assembly line productivity, and they will unavoidably lose money because employees who cannot work fast and efficient enough will lose money. The car production time will be extended because they will need to spend extra time waiting for the delivery. The employees will spend hours or days longer than they should. More importantly, because of these delays, higher inventory costs will be incurred. According to Dept Rescue blog, in some cases when shopping is not as successful as the consumers hoped it would be, the consumers need to ask for a refund or return the goods. Some online sellers offer a quick and easy exchange option, which is to collect the items or offer the consumers the opportunity to exchange them at any of their stores. However, sometimes the buyer has to return the item using his own expenses or at worst case, does not offer the possibility of a return or replacement at all.
In addition, shipping charges can cost more than the actual cost of the product. For example, an item a customer wants to purchase is RM3.30. The cost to ship that item is RM5.49. That means the consumer’s cost of shopping online is more expensive than the item bought. According to Collins, for any online shopper, privacy and security issues are huge concerns. According to Jessica, the consumers can take precautions to ensure that the transactions are secured. For example, consumers should be able to identify online scams and hoaxes, install a free spyware removal tool, keep their internet usage private, pay attention to HTTPS protocols and anonymous surfing. These are effective ways to solve privacy and security concerns. According toRoy. H, online shopping is still growing because e-commerce is a huge platform that is growing around the world at unprecedented speed. Each age group, whether a child, the millennium generation or an older person prefer to have a different electronic store shopping. Compared with physical stores, shopping online provides more happiness. It is because they have a lot of websites and applications that focus on e-commerce, it’s easy to find anything they want to buy right away. In the next few years, the growth of e-commerce is expected to be unprecedented with all the existing technologies. The speed of shopping online is growing at an immeasurable rate, which is driving e-commerce owners crazy to maintain their solid positions in the tight online competition.