Back before the internet became so popular, people would look through their local paper if they were looking for a car for sale, a house for rent or sale, or used furniture and appliances to try to get a deal; Now people just sign on to sites like EBay and Craig’s list to find people selling things that they are interested in purchasing. Although there are many benefits to using sites like those or even to be able to look into local sales online, but there are also some down sides to this type of buying and selling on the internet. In this paper, we are going to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of buying and selling online.
There are many advantages to shopping online, whether it is through a used website like Craig’s List, a bidding website like EBay, or a retailer’s website like JCPenny. Customers have the convenience of ordering from home where they can take their time and review different websites to compare prices or just take their time to decide if they want to make their purchase. There is also the advantage of not having to deal with other rude customers or cranky sales representatives, who really just didn’t want to go to work that day. When shopping online customers don’t have to worry about how they are going to get things home. Customers can get online at anytime day or night and place their orders or submit their bids.
Not only is it extremely easy to buy things online but it is also very easy to place things online for sale. Many sites offer free advertising for people trying to sell their valuables. Sellers can take a picture and post it online with a brief description of the condition that their product is in and the amount that they are asking for. This has become much more popular with the creation of sites like Craig’s list and EBay. With Craig’s list, sellers can list their sale items just as they would if they were putting an advertisement in the local newspaper, except there is a larger chance of being exposed to people interested in what the person is selling. Although both selling and buy online are extremely convenient and the preferred method of most customers, there are some disadvantage to this type of purchasing as well.
With anything we do, there are always pros and cons to everything. On the selling side of the deal there are the disadvantages that prevent customers from using your website to purchase their desired product. Commonplaces.com lists these disadvantages as lack of product information, cost of shipping, ease of return, ease of checkout, and the ease of being able to checkout without setting up an account with the website. Commonplaces.com says that “if your e-commerce site overcomes these disadvantages, then it will be a no-brainer to shop with you.” (Harry, 2010) Retailer’s take into consideration the ease of use while a customer is on their site but that requires shorting on other things that the security they provide to the customer while shopping on their website. One thing that the Commonplaces.com doesn’t consider is customers other concerns about security but we will talk about that in another paragraph. There are also disadvantages to shopping online on the consumer side as well. Although not having to go into the store may seem like an advantage, we as customers lose out on the experience of being able to see the product up close, to be able to touch it and hold it in our hands. Customers miss out on being able to walk out of the store that day with their product in hand. When ordering online, the customer has to patiently wait for their merchandise to arrive in the mail. Some companies like Best Buy ® are already combating this concern by mixing the best of both worlds. Customers can go online and place an order for a TV or video game and then walk into their closest store and pick up their merchandise right at customer service. There is also a concern that once the consumer receives the product, they might not be satisfied with what they received because it wasn’t what they were expecting due to the lack of information on the website about the product or there is some sort of damages to the product that dissatisfies the customer. Again some sites are trying to combat that objection by allowing the customer to return the device to one of their stores to get the quickest possible refund or exchange.
But of all of the advantages and disadvantages of shopping online, most customers are truly concerned about their safety. With the amount of use the internet gets these days, there are a lot more internet crimes; So much so that the FBI has created a team to work especially on internet scams and frauds. The FBI defines internet crimes as “any illegal activity involving one or more components of the Internet, such as websites, chat rooms, and/or email. Internet crime involves the use of the Internet to communicate false or fraudulent representations to consumers. These crimes may include, but are not limited to, advance-fee schemes, non-delivery of goods or services, computer hacking, or employment/business opportunity schemes.” (ic3.gov, 2010) Both the consumer and the seller have to be aware of the scams out there to avoid becoming a victim of these scams. EBay has a guide that advises customer on how to safely order online. One of EBay’s recommendations is to use PayPal because it has “100% FDIC insurance for both Buyers & Sellers. (bookcollecter1685, 2011).