Advantage & disadvantage of shopping online

Written by helen fitzgerald
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Advantage & disadvantage of shopping online
Online shopping is easy yet comes with some potential dangers. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Shopping online is becoming more popular every year and with the ready availability of credit cards, debit cards and companies like PayPal, it is within the reach of most people to make purchases online. You do, however, need to set up one of the above ways to pay for your purchase. There are also many advantages to shopping online but there are also certain risks involved.

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Convenience

Shopping online is convenient, but you need to have ready access to a computer and a reliable Internet connection because browsing for deals can be time consuming. If you rely on Internet cafes this could run up the cost considerably and relying on someone else's computer can be inconvenient. Online shopping is available 24 hours a day which is a convenience not many regular retail outlets can offer.

Cheaper Prices

Shoppers can generally find cheaper deals online than in stores. This is especially true for people living in rural areas where there is limited selection and higher prices. This major advantage of shopping online can be made redundant, however, if shipping costs are high. Online shoppers have a wide range of stores for price comparisons and many online vendors offer low prices due to lower operating costs and healthy competition.

Choice of Products

Generally, the choice of products online is more diverse that in regular shopping centres and customers can spend time comparing prices and products before they purchase. You can buy from stores all over the world, giving you far greater choices. Many online stores such as Amazon include hundreds of customer product reviews for some popular items which is useful when deciding on which make or model to buy.

Privacy and Security Issues

There are some security risks when using credit cards online because your information is entered into a company's database each time you make a purchase. Debit cards are safer than credit cards if balances are kept low, which minimises loss. PayPal, online banking is an alternative to this disadvantageous side of online shopping. There is also always the risk of receiving SPAM if your e-mail address is misappropriated.

Other Disadvantages

Other disadvantages to online shopping include not being able to physically touch and see the product before you buy it, instead relying on photographs and product descriptions. Shipping costs can also add up and sometimes negate any savings on the cost of the product. Having to wait for two weeks or longer for the goods to be delivered after purchase is another disadvantage of online shopping.

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