Convenience is a compelling factor in online shopping

Online shopping is a form of electronic commerce which allows consumers to directly buy goods or services from a seller over the Internet using a web browser. The largest of these online retailing corporations are Alibaba, Amazon.com, and eBay. The largest online shopping day in the world is Singles Day, with sales just in Alibaba’s sites at US$9.3 billion in 2014.

English entrepreneur Michael Aldrich invented online shopping in 1979. His system connected a modified domestic TV to a real-time transaction processing computer via a domestic telephone line.

Customers are attracted to online shopping because of high levels of convenience (access 24 hours per day without leaving their home or work), broader selections, competitive pricing, and greater access to information. The two most important factors determining whether customers return to a website are ease of use and the presence of user-friendly features.

The advantages for businesses in offering online shopping are:

  • Much lower costs as compared to bricks and mortar stores.
  • Access to a worldwide market.
  • Increases customer value.
  • Builds sustainable capabilities.

Many successful purely virtual companies deal with digital products, music, movies, office supplies, education, communication, software, photography, and financial transactions. Some non-digital products have been more successful than others for online stores. Profitable items often have a high value-to-weight ratio, they may involve embarrassing purchases, or go to people in remote locations or who favour the convenience factor. Items which can fit in a standard mailbox – such as music CDs, DVDs and books, are particularly suitable for a virtual marketer.


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