Online Shopping: Risks and Benefits

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Online Shopping: Risks and Benefits
There has long been a need for the consumer to purchase goods without ever having to leave their home. The industry started with mail order catalogs such as Sears Roebuck that offered consumers the convenience to order goods without having to travel a long distance to see what was available. The catalog offered everything from clothing to toys, and even farming equipment that made it easier for early American families to purchase goods without having to travel to a city possibly hundreds of miles away. The industry has come a long way since the golden years of the Sears catalog.

When the personal computer was invented in 1976 people were astonished at its power. After later development and the PC went on the market for all Americans to purchase, it couldn’t do much more than word processing and simplified record keeping, but when the PC was connected to the World Wide Web in 1989, the personal computer began to become a household item. The World Wide Web or better known simply as the internet, allowed users to access files, information, pictures, video, shop online, and much more. The internet connects a personal computer to servers which connect computers from all around the world. Despite danger, the benefits of online shopping can outweigh the risks.

Ever since the invention of the personal computer and the World Wide Web, consumers have become more and more eager to shop online. Shopping online can give a great advantage to many people. Shopping online also has many risks and disadvantages that could arguably equal or outweigh the benefits. When parents spoke of going shopping 20 years ago, it meant get ready and get in the car. Today, it can mean either to get ready to go somewhere or go to the computer and get your credit card ready. Most people shop online for the convenience. Customers never have to leave their home and can do all of their shopping from the living room couch, which eliminates crowds, stress and the forsaken checkout line. Another convenience is that a website cannot turn out its lights and lock the door. Online stores in the US and Canada are also always open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The customer never has to worry about getting to a store before it closes, or waiting for it to open. This makes online shopping, to most people, the most convenient form of shopping (Hobbs). Another advantage of shopping online is that it allows customers to shop or browse through many different categories of items. The internet also allows people to shop from places located hundreds of miles away and even around the world. If someone needs something from across the country that is not available in their area, it is more efficient to order online rather than traveling a great distance to purchase the item (Hobbs). Shopping online is also faster and simpler than using a mail order catalog. It is easy to find just about anything you want to buy online versus getting in a car and driving to numerous stores while having to worry about things like finding a parking spot, burning fuel, and navigating through traffic only to look at items you may or may not be interested in at a brick and mortar store (Fabiola). Online shoppers are also less susceptible to impulse items. Every item found in a retail store is strategically placed to maximize sales in that particular store (Romeo). For example, at home watching television and all of the sudden the screen goes black because the dog just chewed the cable to the TV. A trip to the nearest retail store is required just to purchase a replacement cable. Retailers often strategically place items with enticing prices which could easily lead to the customer coming home with a new TV and not a replacement cable that would have fixed your old one. This is a good example of impulse shopping. This is what retail stores want customers to do. They fill end caps and stack-bases with products they...
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