Teleshopping was a reality much before online shopping came into the picture.
The moment one advertised something on the television or radio, it became one
aspect of selling. The telephone provided the duplex connection that was missing
in one-way radio or telly broadcast. Online shopping took shopping to another
level from this rudimentary long-distance selling.
Online shopping is the process whereby internet users may procure goods or services after conducting a transaction over the internet. Online shopping takes place through online shops that may or may not be extensions of real brick-and-mortar shops. For example, some actual shops have opened an interface on the internet to capture the online market – one can buy Kodak cameras either form a street-side vendor, or from an online shop. On the other hand, there are some exclusively online shops, like Amazon.com that sell goods only over the internet. Online shops can be B2C or B2B. Websites like eBay.com provide an interface that can effectively be called C2C.
There are many advantages of shopping online. One can procure a lot of data about the stuff one wants to buy. One can research about it, compare prices from many stores and find a better deal. As exclusively online shops do not have to spend much money on brick-and-mortar concerns, they can provide goods at a cheaper rate. At times goods delivery can be faster. In case of delivery of services, it may be instantaneous – for example if one wanted to buy a software, online delivery could provide it to the customer immediately. Some services can only be procured online – for example if one wanted to buy web space or a domain name, that can only be done online. There are disadvantages as well. Customers do not get the look and feel they are comfortable with in real shops. Customers can never be sure of the actual quality of the product received. The scope of fraud is much more. The risk of credit card data loss is actual. Delivery can be slower, sometimes taking weeks, whereas one can get goods from a shop instantaneously.
Online shopping procedure is pretty much standardized. The customer logs into a website, selects the goods and services he or she wants to buy and puts it into a shopping cart, provides billing and delivery address, provides payment options, and he is done. While cynics had damned this system even before it arrived and ever since, it caught the public imagination very fast. Many of the apprehensions regarding online shopping are getting addressed through policy and technological upgradation, and the internet user is fast getting acquainted with online shopping experience. Today, business through online shopping is a significant proportion of all shopping.