Online shopping is the process of buying goods and services from merchants over the Internet. Since the emergence of the World Wide Web, merchants have sought to sell their products to people who spend time online. Shoppers can visit web stores from the comfort of their homes and shop as they sit in front of the computer.
Consumers can buy a huge variety of items from online stores, and just about anything can be purchased from companies that provide their products online. Books, clothing, household appliances, toys, hardware, software, and health insurance are just some of the hundreds of products consumers can buy from an online store.
Many people choose to shop online because of the convenience. For example, when a person shops at a brick-and-mortar store, she has to drive to the store, find a parking place, and walk throughout the store until she locates the products she needs. After finding the items she wants to purchase, she may often need to stand in long lines at the cash register.
In contrast, online shopping helps consumers avoid these disadvantages. A person only has to log onto the Internet, visit the store's website, and choose the items she desires. The items are held in a virtual shopping cart until she is ready to make her purchase. The shopper can remain in her pajamas as she does her shopping, and the process can be conducted in the wee hours of the morning or late into the night. Online stores almost never close.
Despite the convenience, not everyone chooses to purchase items and services online. Some people like the idea of physically going to a store and experiencing the shopping process. They like to touch the merchandise, try on clothing, and be around other people. Online shopping doesn't permit shoppers to touch products or have any social interaction, and it also doesn't allow them to take the merchandise home the same day they buy it.
Other people may worry about shopping online because they fear their credit card information will be compromised. Since it's necessary to provide credit card information when purchasing products online, it is possible for individuals to become victims of identity theft. Using secure servers can help, but it's no guarantee that credit information will remain private.
Another reason some consumers avoid shopping online is the fact that they worry that the products they purchase are not accurately portrayed in the website's picture or that they will be of lesser quality. It's also impossible to try on apparel bought over the Internet, so a consumer has to rely on body measurements in order to make sure the clothing will fit properly. If the clothing arrives in the mail and it's too small, it must be mailed back, which is a potential inconvenience that some shoppers may not wish to face.