Online Shopping

Online shopping is no more confined to Amazon and eBay. Advancement in technology has strengthened e-commerce, thereby making ways for various trends in the virtual market. This Buzzle article tells you about how online shopping trends have evolved, and continue to pave ways to reach out more and more customers day by day.
Online shopping―what was once frowned upon has now managed to gain acceptance with open wallets! Yes, while in the past we hesitated ordering things online, and most importantly questioned the safety of letting out our credit/debit card details on the Internet, now due to the safe and secure online market, the skepticism has vanished to a great extent. A recent study done by eMarketer confirms the truth of this statement. Their analysis predicts the growth of online sales in the United States to USD 434.2 billion by 2017, from USD 225.5 billion in 2012.

The year 2009 saw an extraordinary trend. While most industries suffered significant losses due to recession, the U.S. saw a significant rise in online retail of 11%, according to a report by Forrester Research published in March 2010. This just shows the popularity of the trend of online shopping in the past few years.

Online Shopping: From a Luxury to a Trend to a Necessity

The 90s proved to be historical for Internet shopping when the world was introduced to the ‘World Wide Web’. The pioneering online shopping sites such as Amazon and eBay were launched in 1995, and they still continue to reign the kingdom of online retail market. Among the initial steps in Internet selling was the selling of books. What started as a trial-and-error strategy―with many people wondering the feasibility of the success of web shopping―today, has become a revolutionary industry worth billions!

With the consumer population becoming more and more tech-savvy, and with the technological excellence that has led to safe, secure, reliable, and satisfactory online transactions in the recent past, most people prefer to avoid the chaotic crowd of shopping malls, and opt for shopping from the comfort of their homes.

The Internet was once an option, and is now a necessity. Likewise, the virtual market has become more than a facility; it is now, in fact, a necessity. With irresistible advantages such as 24X7 access to shopping, free shipment, and home delivery, the online retailers have managed to acquire some loyal customers. Forrester Research state that the United States online retail industry is likely to be worth USD 279 billion in 2015.

Benefits of Home Shopping

8Shopping is one of the simple pleasures in life. But what happens when shopping is not so simple anymore, where the drama of overcrowded malls, parking problems, and never ending lines dims the excitement? This is where the simple solution of home shopping comes into the picture.

Bring out the woolies and the cocoa, winter is here, and with it the holiday season. With Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year around the corner there is cheer and gift-giving galore. With the holiday season come the crowds on the streets, parking woes, and, of course, malls brimming with overenthusiastic teenagers and shoppers.

There is a simple solution to all those things that dampen your holiday spirit. What if you were told there is a way where you can avoid parking unavailability, long checkout lines, the never ending hunt for the perfect gift, and the fatigue that it brings. This is what brings me to the brilliance that is the Internet. The Internet allows you to shop from home, and at your own convenience and pace.

Why Shop at Home?

Why give up the thrill of going out and experiencing the exciting and crazy world that most shoppers enjoy? It could be that you are a working mother who does not have the time to spare to go mall hopping. Or you could be an overworked professional who doesn’t want to be caught up in the melodrama of shopping at malls. Whatever the reason, most people are now exploring a whole new world on home shopping.

Most departmental and apparel stores have websites, which makes it convenient for people to shop at home. All you need is a credit card and a personal computer, and you are ready to go. The convenience of shopping at your own pace and at any time is what has made home shopping so popular. You can enjoy some shopping time before bed, or when you are not getting sleep. You can even shop before breakfast, or when you have some spare time at work.

Benefits of Home Shopping

Convenience: Shoppers can shop from home at their own convenience. No more worrying about reaching the mall before it closes. You can shop whenever you want, in the morning, late at night, or even during your lunch hour at work.
Variety: All the variety is at your fingertips, literally! No more shuttling between stores and traveling for miles till you find that perfect gift for your friends, family, or special someone. It is all available on the Internet. At the click of a button you can access stores across countries and continents.
Bargains: You will be surprised with the amount of bargains you will find online. You can find everything from free gifts, huge discounts, and free shipping online. Home shopping need not be dull or expensive. In fact, it is cheaper and a whole lot more exciting.
Quality: You can be assured of the quality of the stuff you buy online. You will find that most online stores have a special reviews column with every item; this helps you understand what the others buyers have to say about the items. And if you are not satisfied by the product or quality, you can always return it within the stipulated time period and get your money back.
Security: Do not be worried about using your credit card for home shopping. Home shopping is perfectly safe and secure. All your personal information that is available through your credit card is encrypted and completely secure. Leave all your woes about hacking and identity theft aside, and enjoy the thrill of shopping.

Home shopping is as simple as it gets. You need not worry about complicated procedures and technical difficulties! Just connect to the website, browse items, add them to your ‘cart’, and pay using your credit card. All very simple and easy. Within 21 days your item will be shipped to you. Shopping really can’t get better than this.

Tips for Safe Online Shopping

7If you prefer online shopping, here are some safety tips that will help you make the most of this experience without compromising on your security.

Not just the trend of buying goods and availing services online, but even the frauds associated with it are on rise. Technological advancement has given a major boost to e-commerce and other similar concepts, which revolve around computers and, more importantly, the Internet. The concept of online shopping is no more alien to anybody in the world.

Millions of people log onto shopping websites in order to make shopping a convenient affair. What they fail to understand though, is the fact that they are compromising on their security by not abiding by the rules that they need to follow. With so many cases of online frauds coming to light every other day, it is surprising to see people go on an online shopping spree without paying heed to their security.

Online Shopping Safety Tips

Online shopping fraud is a broad concept, which includes a range of activities, right from hidden charges and phishing to credit card scams and identity theft. Given below are some simple precautions that you can take to keep yourself safe.

Carry out your transactions from a secured PC: You need to make sure that the PC you are using for shopping online and related transactions is up-to-date with security measures, like anti-virus software and firewall. Being one of the most important advice as far as safe online shopping is concerned, this will help you keep those malicious programs out of your transactions.

Be well-versed with the website you use: You need to make sure that the website from which you are buying goods or availing services is authentic. Never go to random sites that feature in search engine results, or ones that you have never heard of before. Always go for popular websites, as the chances of you getting caught in any sort of web of deceit on such websites are negligent.

Never give away your personal information: You will have to provide some information while shopping online, however, you need to make sure that this is just the general information, like your name or contact number. Never give out confidential information, like your social security number, on online shopping websites. More importantly, never fill in any sort of information in pop-up windows, even if you trust the website. Maintaining privacy while shopping online is a must, as giving away confidential information can make you vulnerable to identity theft.

Go through the privacy policy of the company: A trusted website is bound to have its privacy policy covering all the points whereby the website would be legally bound to keep your personal details confidential and giving away the same to the third party would mean breach of contract with possible legal implications. If any website doesn’t have their privacy policy in place, it is better off to stay away from it.

Paying by credit card is wiser: Always resort to credit card for payment options. Though many of us prefer to use debit cards for shopping online, they don’t have all the security features that credit cards do. More importantly, if your debit card number gets stolen, it will give hackers total access to your account and result in even more difficult situations for you.

Before you order the product: You need to make sure that the transactions are secured and the shipping policy of the company is in the place. Cross checking the actual price of the product and the shipping charges with other companies can help you get the best deal. Make sure that there are no hidden costs in the shipping charges. You will have to take into consideration the actual price of the item as well as shipping charges, handling fees, and sales tax.

After you order the product: Never reply to confirmation mails which ask for your personal details. Make sure that you take the print outs of all the online transaction records, which you can eventually use as proof. Other than all your transactions with the company, it is wise to save the product description as well. Lastly, you will have to monitor the time required for shipping. It is very important to get well-versed with terms and conditions before you buy any product online.

If, by chance, you do end up having a bad experience, you can report the company to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the consumer protection agency in your area of jurisdiction. Considering that there are a number of phishing websites out there in the guise of shopping websites, it will take efforts from all of us to come together and make online shopping safe and secure.

Online Shopping

6What was once a rather scary proposition has become a way of life for people around the world. Yes, we’re referring to online shopping; and the big daddy of online shopping – Amazon. In case you’ve had your fill of it, and are looking for some interesting Amazon alternatives, this Buzzle post has 11 of them listed just for you. Take your pick…

Amazon is known as the ‘big daddy’ among online retailers for all the right reasons. The company claims to have the biggest selection of books, magazines, music, DVDs, electronics, computers, software, clothing, accessories, jewelry, tools, hardware, housewares, furniture, sporting equipment, and beauty products on the entire planet. No one’s really verified this, but one look at the site’s enormous range of products, and you realize that there is some truth to this.

Despite being a top-of-the-rung shopping site, Amazon does have its own share of competitors. And even if you happen to be an Amazon loyalist, it would only be interesting to check out these great alternatives.

Overstock

What can we say about Overstock that hasn’t already been said? 1,000,000+ amazing products from all over the world. This site offers some fabulous value-added deals on a wide range of products, following a model that is pretty similar to Amazon’s. Overstock is steadily climbing the charts as Amazon’s closest competitor, and they have also begun to cater to customers from all over the globe.

Rakuten

This Japanese e-commerce giant made quite a splash when it took over Buy.com, breaking into US and European markets. In terms of sales figures, Rakuten ranks among the world’s top sites. Their forte remains electronics, and you can find some amazing value-for-money deals on appliances and gadgets on the site.