It used to be that trade and travel were the name of the game when it came to acquiring the newest, coolest brands and gadgets. These days it’s more like point and click – well, quite literally. The digital age has given the economy a serious edge by providing opportunities for individuals and businesses alike to make sells and drive profits 24/7.
While I have zero qualms with the possibility of maxing my credit card out on 6 new pairs of shoes all within the luxury of my own bed, there are certainly two sides to the story.
1. Comfort and Convenience: What could be better than completing your errands without leaving your bed? Online shopping is comfortable, easy (maybe sometimes too easy, really), and does little to drain your gas tank. It allows customers to remain anonymous as well (I can’t think of examples that aren’t creepy in which this would be helpful, but regardless).
2. Customer Reviews: With two clicks and a swipe, or whatever, you’ve got often pages upon pages of what other consumers did or did not enjoy about any particular product. Reviews often include details related to the product, and sometimes even the helpfulness or promptness of the seller or shipping.
3. Unlimited Options: Finding long enough inseams on jeans inside retail stores is an absolute nightmare for me. Online retail allows for virtually endless options. I can find pants that would fit a giraffe and throw in a few blouses to go along with them while I’m at it (Add to Cart? …. don’t mind if I do).
1. Consumer Mentality: Unlimited inseam options is a dream and everything, but insomuch as E-commerce functions as this wonderful tool, it’s also rather toxic. We live in an age where we’ve got to have the most recent, shiny thing available on the market. This kind of consumerism is not necessarily anything new, but the digital platform on which it is enacted certainly is. It has become far too easy to “add things to the cart”, even when we couldn’t imagine needing them in our wildest dreams.
2. Shipping and Handling: This one is fairly self-explanatory. “That coffee mug is only $1.99?! Great!” *click to add to cart* …. after shipping and handling fees and whatever other transaction costs might end up on the books, virtual “E-carts” add up real quickly. We can sometimes end up paying more money for the sake of the transaction taking place online than for the item purchased itself.
3. Reliability: Seriously, anyone with the ambition to learn the ins and outs of web-design can set up an E-commerce site. Not to mention, virtually any thug can set up an Ebay or Amazon account. The internet allows easy access to goods and services, but it also provides a cloak of anonymity to those with less than grand and noble intentions. It’s easy enough to get scammed trying to make a purchase online. Customer reviews and ratings, as well as sticking to well-known, consumer trusted sites is key to avoiding dishonesty.