The Conveniences of E-Commerce
As a child, going shopping consisted of packing the family into our station wagon and driving an hour to a decent sized mall in another town. We would go from store to store, looking for deals in each store and the flyers at the door. I would play the store’s video game consoles while my sisters tried on countless amounts of clothing. After hours of this, we would grab food and drive the hour back home. We would often find better deals on recently purchased items in the next store. It was very time and effort consuming, and very inefficient.
Although mega malls are still popping up around the nation, a new market place has risen from the depths of technology. E-commerce is a rising economic force changing the way every industry does business. The convenience and ease of shopping online is a huge reason for it growth. Nearly every retail store has a website, touting product, store, and sales information.
Every bit of information desired about a product is at the fingertips of the buyer, while sellers have access to a global market.
The rise of mega malls was supposedly wiping out local “mom and pop” shops, but the internet has made it possible for these local suppliers to sell their products across the world. Now a virtual storefront cost a mere fraction of the real thing. Anyone with internet access and a little help can sell their goods.
Even the large retail stores in the malls are popping up online. Every well known chain has its online store, listing weekly sale advertisements, special online pricing, and all or more of the products they offer at their chains. What used to be 1-800 numbers at the bottom of an advertisement is now a “www-dot” address.
The most attractive feature of internet shopping is product knowledge. An educated shopper gets the most for his/her dollar. In seconds a buyer can have pages of product specifications, the prices of every competitor, and customer feedback on the product and the store they purchased it from. Gathering similar data on products in a shopping mall could take days. Another benefit is that online stores will do nearly anything to keep customers coming back, because they know that competition is fierce, and an unhappy customer has countless alternatives.
The largest and most well known examples of e-commerce are amazon.com and ebay.com. Both opened their web pages for business in 1995, and became models for every other online marketplace. Amazon began with only a website and a warehouse of new and used books. Third party transactions, (when users sell their books through Amazon,) have grown to almost 20% of their sales. Today they are based out of 7 countries, with sales exceeding $1 billion each quarter. In the past year, their stocks have tripled, and they are finally turning a profit after a tumulus 8 years of losses.
Ebay began as an auction forum,...