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What will you do if you suddenly realize that there is no milk or bread in the fridge? Or, what if you just feel like having a burger but are too lazy to go out? The best option available with you is ordering the items ‘online’. And for this, all you need is to pick up your smartphone, log in to the respective grocery or food online delivery app to order, and then receive your order in just the next couple of minutes. Isn’t this process so simple and relaxing!! And, not just food or grocery, one can make quick online purchases for apparels, gadgets, electronics, furniture, books, footwear, accessories, jewelry, etc.
The exponential rise of digital literacy and awareness has made online shopping such an integral and inevitable part of our lifestyle. The biggest perk of this kind of shopping is that it can be done within minutes, at the ease and comfort of your house or wherever you are, by just clicking a tab.
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Online shopping was already on a boom, but post pandemic, it has undoubtedly taken the front seat and became the one of the most favored and chosen modes for purchasing things for the majority of people. According to India Brand Equity Foundation, the Indian e-commerce market is expected to reach USD 16-20 billion by 2025 and USD 350 billion by 2030.
The market of Indian e-commerce is rapidly increasing talen due to factors such as:
- Constantly increasing investment in the e-commerce space.
- Government initiative and policy support.
- High-demand and attractive opportunities due to Covid-19.
Pros And Cons of Online Shopping
Advantages of Shopping Online:
Convenient and Time Saving: Online shopping is super convenient and time-saving as it can be done 24*7, while being at home, at work, in the car, at the movies, on holiday or from anywhere in the world you feel like. You can select the item as per your choice without any hassle of going to a mall or a physical store for buying a certain thing.
Affordable: Another great factor of online shopping is the affordability. There is a plethora of lucrative deals one can always find on online shopping websites, around the year. One can also avail these heavy discounts from various clearance sales, coupon codes, referral discounts, credit and debit card discounts, which in turn, helps you purchase things at good and affordable rates.
Huge Range of Options: Online shopping provides you with umpteen range of options as compared to any offline stores such as showroom or mall. As online shopping is done via the internet which itself is an endless medium that provides a wide variety of options at one go. This also helps the shoppers to make the best choice in terms of choice and pricing by getting in on the latest worldwide trends. Yes, just by sitting at your home you can shop from retailers in other parts of the world.
Easy Returns and Exchanges: Shopping has never been this easier. Apart from easy deliveries, online shopping also allows hassle-free returns as well. If you do not like a certain product, you can always state the reason and get it exchanged or return within a tight time frame. With just one click, you can replace the product and get it exchanged or return as per your wish. At the same time, one can track the order and delivery status from their shopping website
Option to buy or sell second-hand goods at cheaper prices: Second-hand shopping market is also picking up rapidly on the internet marketplace. These online marketplaces give access to the listings of old, used or damaged products at much lower prices. And, from a seller point of view, one can sell their used products with an easy listing process at comparatively good prices. We all are aware of the fact that the hassle of selling old and damaged things offline is huge as compared to online websites.
What One Should Purchase Online?
- New or used electronic items or gadgets.
- Used or second-hand car
- Medicines only from reputed websites.
- Apparels, when you are sure about the size, color and style.
- Footwear, accessories and jewelry.
- Baby or newborn supplies
- Groceries or essential supplies.
- Art and fancy household artifacts.
- Books and novels.
- Airfare and hotel bookings.
- Insurance policies or mutual funds.
What One Should Avoid Purchasing Online?
- Heavy items or large appliances with expensive shipping costs.
- High priced items like luxury bags or costly fine jewelry.
- Prescription drugs.
- Fresh produce items such as fruits and vegetables.
- Things that need to be experienced first such as sun glasses, mattress, furniture etc.
- Any item or product that you haven’t experienced before such as perfumes, cosmetics.
- Pet animals.
- Real Estate.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Making A Purchase Online:
- Be Secure: Always buy a product from a secured and well-established website. However, if you know the website is good and using it for the first time, then make a purchase, then it is advisable to go for ‘cash on delivery’ option (COD), where you make the cash payment only post checking the product. But if the website looks suspicious, always check the URL which should begin with ‘https’ instead of ‘http’. ‘S’ here stands for secured website and if there is no ‘s’, which means the website is not at all secured and your information could be at risk of being stolen.
- Read the Details Carefully: Before selecting the product, always read the product details and its description carefully.
- Check Everything About the Product: Always check the product reviews and ratings, especially when you are purchasing any kind of expensive product online. The reviews and ratings provide a fair idea about the quality and performance of a certain product from real consumers.
- Credit or Debit Card: It is advisable to use a credit card rather than debit card if you are planning to purchase a product online. If paid with a credit card you still have a bandwidth to withhold the transaction in case of any fraud or hack happening via your online purchase. Also, be extra cautious, keep a check on your bank statements and past transaction history, SMS and email notifications for every online purchase.
- Do Not Link Your Vital Information: Try not to connect or link your credit card or debit card details, bank account information directly with the website. While making an online purchase, it is advisable to fill in the card or bank details afresh every time when you make the transaction to avoid any kind of fraud. To be on the safest side, you can always choose the COD option, which certainly saves a lot of trouble.
Online shopping is definitely so much fun and it certainly has a therapeutic effect on your mood too. It can also save a lot of your money and time, if done wisely. So, to have a happy and satisfied online shopping experience, you need to be a little cautious and careful to avoid unnecessary troubles.
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Rashi Maheshwari is a former Deputy Editor for Forbes Advisor India.