The Internet has connected the world and brought many wonderful technologies into existence. One such benefit of the internet is E-Commerce. If it was not for the internet, we wouldn’t have been able to buy and sell goods or services online. It has provided a platform for businesses to operate. We have different types of E-commerce, a few of them are Business to Business, Business to Consumer, Consumer to Consumer, Direct to Consumer, Consumer to Business, and many more. And, these e-commerce models’ names are self-explanatory. With this, let’s look at the pros and cons of E-commerce.
Comparison table of advantages and disadvantages of e-commerce
Advantages of E-Commerce
E-commerce has made shopping very convenient. From the comfort of your home, you can order products or services online. And, you will get the delivery to your location in no time. Here are some advantages of E-commerce.
1. Makes buying and selling process quicker
We live in a busy world where we need to do things as soon as possible, the same goes for shopping. Suppose your favorite store is in another city, and you need the product immediately, you don’t have to take out time and travel all the way there. You can simply order your items from their website or application. It makes the shopping process quicker and overcomes physical barriers. With e-commerce, you don’t have to wait long to get what you are looking for.
2. Reduces cost
Since e-commerce is online, there is no need for businesses to open their outlets in each area. They can simply run an online business along with maintaining their outlets in specific locations. This saves costs significantly, allowing businesses to get customers globally at lower costs. Running an online website saves on heavy costs that otherwise are spent on rent, staff salaries, and utilities. The website can be created with one of the best website builders and hosted on the best eCommerce hosting services.
3. Attracts potential customers
The Internet has made it possible for businesses to attract customers globally. Not every time, your target audience will be available at your nearby location. You will have to broaden your horizon, and with e-commerce, you can achieve this goal. You can create attractive websites and promote them on social media. Get a good responsive customer care team, and continuously run promotional offers, and over time you’ll have the attention of your target audience.
4. 24/7 Availability
If it was not for e-commerce, you wouldn’t have been able to shop from your favorite websites anytime and from anywhere. Businesses, as well as customers, can benefit from e-commerce round the clock. Moreover, customers get access to all the information that they need via the brand’s websites and applications. They can go through policies, and terms and conditions before making purchasing decisions.
5. Offers a variety
With the in-store shopping, your options were limited to what was available at that moment. On a brighter note, we have e-commerce, which offers a variety of products and services. And, even if the product that you are looking for is not available, you have the option on the website or application to conveniently add your email address or contact details, and you get notifications regarding its availability. We are all familiar with the e-commerce giants such as Amazon. Building an Amazon alternative owned by yourself would feel pretty exciting. Wouldn’t it?
6. Extremely flexible and customizable
Instead of buying things from an offline store which only has a certain number of options not only in terms of product variety, but also the in pricing, sellers, etc., an e-commerce store is a great choice. Also, returning products and customizing them based on your requirements are much harder on a local store compared to e-commerce services. Nobody is going to judge you online, no matter how long it takes you to select the best product for your needs.
Disadvantages of E-Commerce
We saw the benefits that e-commerce offers, now let’s take a look at what lies on the other end of the spectrum. Here are some disadvantages of e-commerce.
1. Dependent on the Internet
As we discussed, the internet made it possible for people to shop online, so the obvious disadvantage is its dependence on the internet. Businesses are earning profits with their ability to operate online, and customers are getting what they are looking for. But across the globe, we still have places, where people don’t have access to the internet, and since e-commerce is internet-dependent, it can’t extend its benefits to them.
2. Lacks in-store experience
Technology is advancing, and in a few years, most businesses will offer their customers trial features using virtual and augmented reality. Despite such wonderful technologies, the in-store shopping experience will still remain at the core. No online technology can replace the in-store experience. And, e-commerce doesn’t offer this experience to its customers. Since you are purchasing online, you don’t get to touch the products physically, which otherwise makes you confident about your choice. Additionally, in-person interactions with sales associates give you encouragement, which is lacking in e-commerce.
3. Uncertainty about quality
Since customers cannot try the products they purchase online, they remain uncertain about their quality. Until the technological revolution, almost all our lives, we purchased products from physical stores. So, breaking this habit, and opting for online purchases will bring uncertainty along with it. Sometimes, even you might not be sure if the ordered product will meet the quality standard. The uncertainty about the quality makes customers hesitant before making a purchase.
4. Increased waiting timeline
In the in-store purchase, the waiting timeline to get products and services is significantly less compared to online purchases. You can simply visit the store, try the product, and if you like it, you can make a purchase. But, in online shopping, first, you have to wait for your order to be dispatched. And, then wait for days for the delivery. Also, in the store purchase, you are sure that you will get the product as you are trying it on your own.
In online shopping, there is a possibility that your order might get canceled due to several factors. Furthermore, if the ordered size doesn’t fit you perfectly, then the exchange process takes a couple of more days. In short, you have to wait for more for your online orders.
5. Security and privacy issues
E-commerce portals are at risk of cyberattacks. The hacker’s very well know businesses earn huge profits through online mode. So, the companies take all the necessary security measures to avoid data breaches. Still, they cannot give assurance, and there are possibilities that the financial information of the customers can be compromised on these online portals. The other major drawback is a lack of privacy. In order to get the delivery, the customers need to provide their personal information.
But, hackers can hack this information if no advanced encrypted technology is implemented. And, not every online portal has this technology, so it is a must to order only from trusted sources to avoid losses.
6. Not everything is available online
Due to the limitations of shipping, trust, and other similar issues, not everything can be sold online with the help of e-commerce. For example, let’s say there is a farming tool that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. Simply putting it online and letting someone purchase it may not be the best route to go for. Especially if it requires further assembling and shipping into remote areas where shipping may not be possible, it is better to set up a local store and let people decide in person.