The birth of the internet has allowed vendors to expand their stores into cyberspace. The face of conventional shopping has been changed. No longer is shopping limited to physical methods such as going to visit stores but it has now turned into cyber-shopping. As of 2006 figures have shown the growth of online shopping in the United Kingdom alone to be estimated at 24 million UK consumers who spend on average $1513 each during the year. With forecasts predicting that e-commerce will grow by 36% in 2006 amounting to $49 billion, “There can no longer be any doubt that the internet is a major part of the retail landscape, and that it will dominate the retail agenda for the next several years”, according to IMRG managing director Jo Tucker.
This exponential growth in online shopping can explained by the advantages that shopping online has over traditional shopping which can be categorized in three major aspects, convenience, price and variety.Shopping online allows any shopper to window shop or make purchase from virtually any place, at work, at home or and place which offers access to the internet.
The relative ease with which a person can select an item without having to deal with other shoppers, particularly during the Christmas shopping rush, provides finicky shoppers with a very convenient alternative. Add to this the factor that most items being sold online already provide shipping within the United States and if any shipping fee is charged it is at a very minimal rate that shoppers are more than willing to pay as compared to going to any store (paying for gas or commute fare) and having to deal with other shoppers.
While traditional shoppers argue that nothing can replace the feel of real shopping with the battling through the crowds and the dealings with the sales people, it is clear that the convenience factor provided by online shopping appeals to more and more shoppers.The second factor is the price. The internet is currently the largest market and offers shoppers the largest stores and vendors the largest markets. With the total number of online stores pegged at nearly 1 billion, the competition for the money of online shoppers is fierce to the point that anyone who does a fairly diligent search online will be able to find items at prices lower than one can find through traditional shopping. For retailers this is also a big cost in expenses as it negates the need for a physical store for marketing their items and also greatly reduces overhead costs allowing them to offer the goods at relatively lower prices.Finally the variety of the goods and consumer items available through online shopping makes it more advantageous for some people to shop online as opposed to traditional shopping. Traditional shopping entails physical activity and a lot of effort for a person to be able to visit every store in search of the item that the person wants. Shopping online provides a quicker and easier alternative. The enormous variety of items available online makes cyberspace the largest mall in the world. A single search query on any internet browser will yield hundreds if not thousands of results. Combine that with the relative ease by which a person can also research on the pros and cons of items and a wise shopper is created. The variety on ebay, the largest online auction store in the world, is enough to fill the entire state of Texas. All the choices that are available online and the price advantage that is offered and the convenience all make the internet the shopping haven for any shopper.