There are a number of arguable benefits to the consumer of online shopping verses traditional brick and mortar stores.
1. Convenience and time saving – Shopping on the Internet can save time. A consumer does not have to travel to a store or adjust his schedule around the store’s hours. No longer does a consumer have to wait on hold for a customer service representative to answer the phone. Without leaving their home or office, consumers can access thousands of Web sites to become informed about breaking news and events, research products, and purchase everything from groceries to books to insurance policies.
2. Broader selection – The opportunity to find specialty items not readily available in ordinary retail outlets. This is especially true for consumers who live in small towns or rural areas where retail shopping is limited.
3. Global choice – Shopping is no longer limited to the stores within a reasonable driving or walking distance or to the catalogs they receive in the mail. Online, customers can shop at stores in other states or in other countries.
4. Better information – Access to a fuller range of information about product availability, descriptions, reviews and pricing.
5. Lower prices – Some Internet retailers offer discounts from traditional channels (online booksellers, buying and selling stocks through the Internet). Some Internet retailers are starting to swallow shipping fees to capture customers. Users can access most online news and information free of charge. This element is of greatest power and appeal in influencing the habits of consumers.
6. Rapid response time to needs – eCommerce allows traditional supply chains to be shortened (direct shipping from the manufacturers) or even completely eradicated (digital goods such as software, music, info). This allows customers to purchase products in less time.
7. Customization and Personalized products and services – Some Web businesses, particularly media, music, computers businesses already customize the product to an audience of one. The result is customized products comparable to those offered by specialized suppliers but at competitive mass market prices. As suppliers are closer to their customer they are able to gather detailed information on the individual needs of the customer and can then tailor products and services catering for these individual needs
8. Quality of service – eCommerce has created a global market with all suppliers competing for business. It brings suppliers closer to the customer. The customer benefits to the extent that the quality of the service offered is improved. Customer rating services also increase this as it is easy for customers to rate both products and customer service of individual suppliers.