Online Shopping - A good experience ..
by Himanshu Singh
Online shopping means logging onto internet, looking out for the item / goods you desire, putting that in your virtual shopping basket, making payment against the purchased goods and then wait for the ordered goods till it arrives. The cycle which is mentioned is just a part of the whole process. Its only the customer’s perspective. Digging a bit, Online shopping is exploiting a network of vendors who have presence in the internet world, using internet to make purchase, using all the available security for Online payments, placing the order for merchandise and exploiting all possible services that are associated with the whole network, which you are using like support services (mail based, chat based, voice based), shipping services etc.
I do a lot of online shopping. If I come to know about any online e-store, I definitely take out time to visit it and check it for the product range and ease of shopping and also about the services it provides to customers. This I do not do because it is a part of my job, buy I do this because it’s my passion.
The online stores are nothing but an extension of retailing. In net terminology it is known as E-tailing. If you go by definition, it is “E-tailing refers to retailing over the internet. Thus an e-tailor is a B2C business that executes a transaction with the final consumer. E-tailors can be pure play businesses like Amazon.com or businesses that have evolved from a legacy business, Tesco.com. E-tailing is a subset of e-commerce”
It is crucial in any e-tailing business to keep the shopping process simple, fast, and consistent. The average time to shop keeps getting faster at just over four minutes with less than five clicks in the process from product selection through checkout.
I personally look for the sites, which are fast to load, got a lot of information about the displayed products, good prices of course should be there and which gives the price comparison with other big players. Apart from this, I look for the customer related services. This includes no value added service Also if the site has got any section which is updated quite often for latest articles, latest trends on the online shopping and about the product details / description. The normal practice which I follow is to rely on the search engines for the desired product. Thanks to Google that it gives impartial results and very precise ones. Though it does not work on semantics, but most of the time it gives desired results. Many comparison websites are there to find out competitive rates, I like bizrate.com as you can get many vendors for the same products. The normal process which I follow is to look for at least 5 websites, evaluating them on different parameters like pricing, ease of shopping, security of transaction, guarantee of the product, return policy, after sales service, general services to customers etc.
Pricing: Pricing plays a very important role. A Lot of distribution costs are gone if you purchase online directly from the supplier or any distributor. You can get amazing prices if you invest some time for looking out different websites for the same products. Lot of price comparison websites are available to assist you out in this. I rely on bizrate.com
Ease of shopping: Ease of shopping is also important for any customer. The website should be very much user friendly. A customer should not feel lost while surfing and searching for the products. Amazon.com is quite a good website. The process of shopping is more or less same at every website. But few people provide very good interfaces and very good support at every stage so that the customer feels very good about it. Bluenile.com is a very good website selling diamonds. Though the diamonds are expensive as compared to other websites, but the way of presentation and the support services put them apart from others.
Security of transaction: Security of transaction plays a very important role. A customer should be taken in confidence that whatever information he is going to disclose for the shopping, will be kept confidential and will not be disclosed. Any leak in this information may result in huge financial loss to the customer. I look for various security certificates, their validity, certifying authority, pad lock etc before committing any transaction. Verisign security certificate comforts me.
Guarantee of the product: Guarantee of the product and quality of product are other important issues. You should know the product which you are going to purchase should be worth of the price you are paying, should meet the prevailing quality standards and should carry a valid guarantee or warranty. It is advisable to check and ask for the guarantee and warranty of the product before placing the order from the vendor who is selling it online.
Return policy: Return policy is very important if the product is costly, say jewelry or some computer accessory of electronic good. I like the websites with precisely defined return policies. This makes customer feel that they will not be at loss if the product does not meet their expectation.
Customer Care services: Customer services are back bone to any e commerce business. They are the mouth piece of any online web store. This is the front which can decide which website is better in today’s scenario. Almost all the website have security, all have good quality of products , but the point where one scores over other is the class of customer service. I like the website with chat support and very less turn around time for the query posted.
After doing this analysis and speaking to the representatives through mails I zero on one particular website and place the order.
Pros of Online Shopping
• Variety of products
• Vast range of quality
• Good pricing
• Bargain deals during holiday / festive season
• Quality products
Cons of online shopping
• You can not touch and feel the actual product you are ordering
• Your privacy may be encroached if the website share your data with
• Sometime the quality of the product does not meet the expectation
• Difficult to decide the authenticity of the vendor
I hope this will help you in certain extent when you shop online.
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