WebsiteCompass 3 While the pandemic was instrumental in forcing more people to shop online, the practice had already been increasing for many years prior. Here are a few of the reasons why. There’s So Much to Like About Shopping fromHome Convenience Ecommerce offers numerous advantages over traditional shopping at brick-andmortar stores. You can place orders from anywhere, easily compare products from different stores, and get your items delivered right to your doorstep— sometimes the next day. Selection The selection of items available for purchase online is virtually limitless, which means finding the specific product you want is as easy as a few clicks. Plus, you can consider all the possibilities without pushy salespeople looking over your shoulder. Money Management The ability to easily shop around helps you find the best deals, while digital coupons, loyalty programs, and social media promotions enable even greater savings. Free shipping is often an added bonus, as is the ability to spread out payments over time. Painless Returns Many online retailers make it more appealing to shop online with perks including painless returns. Third-party services like Happy Returns (happyreturns. com) make these transactions even simpler, allowing customers to drop items off at a return center—no packaging required. Easy Gifting Need to buy a gift for someone? It’s never been easier. If you know what you want, you can have it gift wrapped and shipped to their home. If you don’t know what you want, you can perform a search based on the person’s age, gender, and interests. Don’t Forget There are Downsides While the benefits of shopping online are well known, they’re not the whole story. Here are a few things shoppers dislike about the experience. • 24/7 availability. The “always-on” nature of ecommerce can be considered a benefit. But, for those with a tendency to overspend, it can be dangerous. • Lack of assistance. Unlike at a traditional store, there’s often no one around to answer questions you may have about the products. • Complicated websites. Not all ecommerce sites are created equally. Some are difficult to navigate, don’t provide adequate product descriptions, or have a clunky checkout process. • Solitary nature. Online shopping is typically done alone, so you miss out on getting together with friends or even just seeing other shoppers in the physical world. • Uncertain quality. Without being able to touch or test products, you can’t be sure the quality is up to your standards. One of the biggest challenges of all is that some ecommerce sites aren’t what they seem. They may look like normal shopping sites but end up being scam operations that take your money without sending you anything in return.