E-marketing entails applying marketing techniques and principles via digital media, especially the Internet. The digital technologies are usually used as a supplement to traditional marketing approaches. Just like traditional marketing, e-marketing is concerned with developing a strategy that can help firms to communicate the right messages regarding their product/service offerings to the target audience. E-marketing comprises of all processes and activities undertaken to find, attract, win and retain customers albeit in a wider scope when compared to the traditional marketing techniques (Bluschke, 2011). The scope of e-marketing is considered broad since it is not only concerned with promotions and marketing via the Internet, bit also encompasses marketing done through wireless media and electronic mail. In addition, e-marketing entails managing electronic customer relationship management and digital consumer data. In the current business environment, it is imperative for businesses to build their online presence in order to remain competitive. In addition, e-marketing helps companies to access markets in a manner that is more cost effective when compared to traditional marketing techniques (Close, 2012). One of the important concepts related to e-marketing is online shopping, which involves consumers buying products/services directly via the Internet. This essay focuses on the advantages of online shopping.
The first advantage associated with online shopping is that it easy to make a purchase using online shopping. To make an online purchase, all that a customer requires to have is Internet access together with a valid payment method. Online shopping has been praised for its convenience (Close & Kukar-Kinney, 2010). One does not need to physically visit the store in order to make a purchase. With access to the Internet, a person only needs to visit the retailer's website, look for the product/service to be purchased, make a payment, and then wait for delivery. Shopping online is suitable for people are extremely busy because it eliminates the need to visit the retail store; as a result, online shopping does not interfere with a person's schedule. According to Nicholls (2014), the popularity of online shopping can be attributed to its convenience. Moreover, online stores operate 24 hours a day, and that many consumers can access the Internet when at work or at home, or when on the move. The increase in the accessibility of Internet and mobile devises implies that online shopping can be done at anywhere any time, which is contrasted with physically visiting the traditional retail store that are at a fixed location and operate during specific business hours. In instances where there is a problem with the purchase (such as wrong delivery), consumers have expressed concerns in terms of the ease with which they can return the item for either a refund or an exchange (Nicholls, 2014). In such cases, consumers are supposed to contact their retailers, ship the item and wait for the item to be replaced or for a refund. Online retailing companies are stepping in to address this concerns raised by consumers; as a result, they are using more generous return policies to counter the advantage associated with physical retail stores. Examples of such policies include free return shipping, not charging a restocking fee, and refund policies in case the customer is not satisfied with the item delivered (Flick, 2009).
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The second advantage associated with online shopping is that it is cheap for customers to shop online. The prices offered by most online stores is relatively lower than prices offered at physical stores. These low prices in online shopping can be attributes to the fact many people make use of the internet to locate cheaper items (Flick, 2009). As a result, online retailers understand this concept and embark on reducing their profits while hoping to get more customers. Another factor contributing to lower prices in online shopping relates to the fact that a consumer can browse several websites in order to select the best price (Close & Kukar-Kinney, 2010). Comparing prices is possible for the case vising physical stores; however, it takes a lot of time. In addition, there is the possibility that an online purchase will not be subject to taxations unless the online retailer is stationed in one's state. Some of the tools available to consumers for comparing prices include discovery shopping engines, online price comparison services, and search engines. Costs of shipping usually reduce the price advantage associated with online shopping; however, this can be compensated by the possibility that a sales tax will not be imposed on the purchase (Close, 2012).
Online shopping does not only benefit consumers but also online retailers by eliminating the need to have stores on the streets and malls. All that an online retailer requires is a single storage location for keeping their merchandise. The Internet acts as the platform through which the online retailer interacts and transacts with customers (Close, 2012). There are numerous advantages associated with not requiring a physical retail outlet. First, online retailers are not subject to geographical limitations, which is the case with physical retail stores. With an online retail website, the entire world forms the market. In addition, the fact that one does not need a physical retail outlet to run an online retail platform translates to reduced operational costs because online retailers do not incur rent expenses. In addition, online retailers use automated systems for inventory management, payments, billing, and checkout, which implies only a few employees are need to manage an online retail store. Moreover, the fact that an online store is open 24 hours a day translates to higher orders received when compared to physical retail stores that are supposed to operate within predefined business hours (Nicholls, 2014).
In conclusion, it is evident from the discussion that online shopping has numerous advantages for both the consumer and the online retailers. For consumers, online shopping has the advantages of the relative ease with which shopping is done and better prices. For online retailers, online shopping eliminates the need to have a physical retail store on the streets or malls, which help in lowering costs.
Bluschke, N. (2011). Factors Influencing Consumers' Intention to Purchase Clothing Online. New York: GRIN Verlag.
Close, A. (2012). Online Consumer Behavior: Theory and Research in Social Media, Advertising, and E-tail. New York: Routledge.
Close, A. G., & Kukar-Kinney, M. (2010). Beyond buying: Motivations behind consumers' online shopping cart use. Journal of Business Research, 63(9), 986-992.
Flick, K. (2009). Assessing Consumer Acceptance of Online Shopping: Examining Factors Affecting Purchase Intentions. Michigan: ProQuest.
Nicholls, E. (2014). A Perfect Guide To Online Shopping: This Handbook Will Let You Learn About Online Shopping Facts And Advices Thant Include The List Of Best Online Shopping Sites, How And Where To Shop Appliances Online, Coupons For Online Shopping, The Benefits Of Online. New York: KMSPublishing.