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Although the History of Online Shopping only dates back some 25 years, Online shopping is becoming almost a national past-time.
The Internet was originally “Born” in 1983, but it was actually from the time Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1990, that the conception of what was to come really became a reality.
All of a sudden you could communicate with friends and family electronically.
No more waiting for the postman to deliver that important letter 3 days later. You could get an answer within hours not days.
Then 4 years on and you could actually buy goods over the internet.
The first sale made electronically was in 1994 and it was UK pop artist “Sting” uploaded his album “Ten Summoners Tales” and sold it over the internet for £7.74.
So Online Shopping Was Born.
Now just over 20 years later 95% of UK people buy something over the internet. Making them the largest nation in the world for buying goods online, amounting to over £91 billion.
In the US the figure is around 79%, with a spend in excess of $300 billion and growing.
Internet shopping is by far the fastest growing trait of human behaviour over the last 20 years and there is no sign of it decreasing.
Obviously, this has a large impact on traditional shopping via brick and mortar and many large retail companies are either facing closure or having to keep up with the trend and turn their focus to online shopping.
Anything and everything can now be purchased over the internet which has seen the growth in websites increase dramatically.
At the latest count, there were more than 180 million registered domain names.
With the technology improving all the time it only makes it easier and easier for anyone at all to create, build and maintain a website for any topic they so wish.
You could try your hand out below:
The largest and most profitable niche sites are:
Health and Wellness:
are predicted to be worth $1 trillion globally in 2017.
in the UK alone is worth £100bn, the gambling industry is worth over a massive $35.5 billion US dollars, and the Forex industry trades over $5.1 trillion per day.
This niche refers to online dating, attracting members of the opposite sex, pick up, finding a husband/wife, getting your ex back and much more.
With a reported 49,250,00 people in the USA alone having tried online dating, this shows the huge demand for this niche.
To give you some idea of how much money is being spent via online shopping take a look at this graph supplied by Statista, on how much the average person spends each year.
You will find more statistics at Statista
As long as you have an Internet connection, Online Shopping is available 24 hours a day 365 days a year. They never close.
By contrast, travelling to a shopping mall requires travel or commuting costs such as petrol, parking fees, or even a bus ticket.
The time you have to shop is also is greatly reduced.
Typically normal shop opening hours range from 9-6 or maybe even late night shopping until 9 o’clock at night.
Then you get back home and find that there is a problem with the item you have bought, so then there is the hassle of returning to the shop to get a replacement.
All this can become rather inconvenient, whereas most online shopping companies cater for this in a very easy way.
Return policies on most online shopping stores attach a return label.
Some offer courier pickups whereas others may require you to go to the post office with a free return postage label. All offer a replacement or refund.
Information and reviews
Online stores must provide a description of the item in text form and photos.
Whereas in a traditional retail shop, the actual product and the manufacturer’s description will be shown on the packaging.
The beauty with online shopping is the choice you have from many different stores selling the same or near variations of the same item.
With a traditional shop, you have to find another outlet selling the same product to compare your choice.
Another attraction to online shopping is the reviews that they provide from other people that have already had an experience with the item you are looking to buy.
This can give you first-hand information and thoughts from real people before you finally decide on your purchase.
Price and selection
In most cases, shopping online will be cheaper than buying from an offline store, because of the savings on floor space and staff to handle the purchase.
Although this compensation could be eaten up by postage and packing costs at least you have the chance to see the final cost which may include any taxes as well before you hit the checkout button.
If the item is fairly small then you won’t get too much of an advantage, but then if your order is above the free postage and packaging threshold your savings are going to be worthwhile.
As mentioned above, you do have the choice of seeking out different suppliers where their delivery charges may vary.
Fraud and security concerns
Shopping online can put the buyer at higher risk of fraud than traditional face-to-face transactions in an offline shop.
When ordering any item online, you are putting your trust in the seller that everything is going to be as described.
The problems arise when the item may not work properly, may have defects, or it might not be the same item that you originally ordered.
Even though generally online stores have a good reputation for customer service, being reimbursed from some companies may be a sticking block.
If you made the purchase using your credit/debit card, most of the top financial institutions will have a buyer protection policy in place, where they will seek out the merchant and get your money reimbursed.
I know that Paypal does a very good job in this area, they give 180 days to make a complaint.
Another popular online banking company is Payza.
For your own security, you should always visit sites that show the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) logo, which is in place immediately before the website’s address in the search bar.
This indicates that the site is safe and has an encryption certificate in place to safeguard your credit card information being intercepted by hackers in transit between the consumer and the merchant.
Identity theft is still a concern for online shoppers.
Normally if a company has been breached by a malicious break-in they will contact their customers and inform them of the security risk.
This gives them the chance to contact their banks etc to inform them of the breach.
It is becoming more and apparent now that quality seals are placed on the Shop webpage, showing that it has undergone an independent assessment.
This will also show that the online trader has met all the requirements of the company issuing the seal.
This should serve the purpose of increased confidence for the online shopper.