Online shopping is the process of making purchases over the internet, and it has revolutionized how businesses function in the modern era. Online shopping first became prevalent in the late 1990s, when internet technology first became mainstream. The most prominent online retailer to emerge during this era was Amazon, which was originally an online bookseller. However, because Amazon soon recognized the demand for purchases made online exceeded books, it soon began offering different types of goods (Stone 27). Soon, online shopping was adopted by many businesses who traditionally only sold products in retail locations, such as Walmart.
Societal changes that have occurred as a result of online shopping include the normalization of purchasing a variety of goods, from automobiles to groceries, from online retailers. At the same time, many businesses that did not make the shift to offering products online found thy were at a competitive disadvantage. The main benefits of online shopping are lower costs and convenience (Goldsmith 114). Many stores that focus on selling products online are able to offer goods for cheaper than retail locations because they do not have to pay rent on retail space, and they do not require traditional employees, such as cashiers or customer service representatives (Mosteller 12). When combined with the convenience of making a purchase from the comfort of one’s own home, the many advantages of shopping online tend to outweigh any negatives, which might include difficulty returning a product, or being unable to see a product in person before purchase. To address these issues, many online companies now offer extensive review systems, so customers can at least see what other purchasers of the product have to say about its quality. Online shopping will only continue to expand in scope in the future, particularly as internet technologies become more advanced, and it has revolutionized the retail industry throughout the world.
- Goldsmith, Elizabeth B. Consumer economics: Issues and behaviors. Routledge, 2016.
- Mosteller, Jill. The fluent online shopping experience. Elsevier, 2015.
- Stone, Brad. The everything store: Jeff Bezos and the age of Amazon. Random House, 2013.