E-commerce or electronic commerce can be defined as any commercial transaction that happens over the internet. Every business exchange occurs electronically here. It involves the exchange of any types of goods or services and makes use of technologies like online fund transfer, online transaction processing etc. E-commerce has led to the growth of both small and large businesses over the years. Online shopping is an excellent example of this which has gained a lot of attention these days. Let us see some of its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of E-commerce:
The simple advantages are,
Always available to customers
E-commerce services are usually available round the clock. The customer can avail or enquire about the services or products any time they wish. The payment can also be done by transferring money at any time of the day.
Plenty of options available
There are a hell lot of options available for the customer for every single product or service. Different websites and businesses market for their services in ways to attract the consumers who can choose the one which suits their budget.
Making all the transactions through internet has paved the way to becoming more environment friendly. There is very less paper work involved in e-commerce. The electronic transactions have helped to digitize all the information thereby reducing the use of paper.
Shopping was a tiring affair in the bygone days where ‘going shopping’ meant traveling. Now that you can shop from the comfort of your home, there is no traveling involved. Keeping people at home also means lesser pollution!
Almost all the e-commerce sites have a review or comments page. The customers who have already availed the service or bought the product can write their reviews about the same in this page. So, it becomes easy for a new customer to take a decision about using the service or product.
There is a lot of competition happening online. The e-commerce sites are flooded with offers and discounts to attract customers. These are their marketing techniques which are profitable for the customers too. The same product may cost a lot lesser when bought online rather than from a shop. Discounts of up to 80% have become very common.
Disadvantages of E-commerce:
There are few demerits as well. They are,
High set up cost
The initial cost of setting up an e-commerce site is high. It calls for experts in the fields of software, marketing and good decision makers to sell the product. Even the delay or inexperience of the people involved can result in loss of money.
Unsure about the quality
When you go to a shop, you can actually see and touch the product before paying for it. This option is absent when shopping online. It is commonly seen that when the product is delivered, it may differ in size or color.
Online transactions always face the threat of lack of security. Many sites do not have Cash On Delivery (COD) option. It is risky for the customers to give all the card details while doing online payment.
No delivery in remote areas
Most sites boast of delivery in every nook and corner. But in reality, when the product arrives it can be noticed that it has been redirected many times. Finally it is the quality of the product that is being compromised.
Lack of enough bandwidth is a problem in many countries. There are also problems of compatibility of the e-commerce application with certain operating systems. As the software field is developing fast, many utilities become outdated within no time.
The products ordered online may not reach you at the correct time. Even though they say that it takes only a few days, it rarely reaches on time. You then have to take the pain of tracking it and wait patiently till it is delivered.