South African internet users have increased by as much as 15% in 2009 and similarly in 2010 and 2011. This means that there are more South Africans doing business and socializing online than ever before. In a study done by an international credit card company, more than 40% of South Africans have begun doing their shopping online. Of these online shoppers, 77% have actually bought something in contrast to those who “window shop.” Of these 77%, almost 85% are happy with their transactions.
The main reason for most people not just South Africans for holding back on online shopping is fear of hackers and buying from unscrupulous sellers. However everyone starts from this point of view and as they get to try online shopping using careful security tips, they convert and become addicted to online shopping. Here are some of the advantages and reasons why internet shopping is gaining more popularity:
Advantages of Internet Shopping
The most prevalent reason why anyone would want to go shopping through websites is because it’s convenient. Indeed, even if you’re looking for a Mercedes Benz C class for sale, you’ll probably hit the net before hitting the pavement. There are no shopping hours and you don’t have to pay cash. In addition, whatever you order online usually gets delivered to your doorstep for a small additional fee. Everything is done without having to step away from your mobile phone or computer.
Aside from the convenience, the competition on the internet and between similar websites is so tough that these sites are forced to offer discounts, special deals, and promotions to lure clients to their site. It becomes a joy to compare the different offers knowing that you are in the driver’s seat for a change.
In the land-based shopping world, it’s very common to see fewer independent businesses and more of the large conglomerates or brand names. This makes online shopping fresh because you get options from the smaller start-up businesses that may actually have better goods and services. If you want to build your own online store, there are several solutions for those who aren’t technical in nature.
As mentioned earlier, there are potential open manholes when shopping online. Here are some of the disadvantages that you should be aware of to avoid unsavoury experiences while shopping over the internet:
Disadvantages of Online Shopping
Aside from fear of hacking and bad sellers, there are other potential problems with online shopping such as:
• What if the product does not live up to its marketing hype?
• What if the product is defective?
• Problems with a money back guarantee
• Wrong size, colour, or model
All these issues have to do with not being able to “touch and see” the product personally. The only way to protect yourself is to make sure you order something you are familiar with or from a website that has an excellent reputation.
Other issues other than security and product concerns may have to do with the fact that one may not possess a credit card. Fortunately, you can contact your bank and ask if they have an internet payment option like electronic fund transfers. There are several options you can try and basically all it requires is a confirmation fee that can be refundable. You will only have to enrol your bank account and transfer funds to buy items online.
Finally, if you enjoy chatting with sales clerks and personally discussing the merits of a service or product, you may feel awkward with the lack of human contact when shopping online. On top of that, there is a waiting time between ordering and paying all fees and finally getting hold of your purchased item. If the website is located outside of your country, it may take more than a few days to get to you.
In conclusion, online shopping has the potential to make life so convenient for you. With the increasing cost of fuel, it becomes even more attractive to skip the mall and retail stores unless there’s a special huge sale.