Sitting in class each day, I easily see over twenty people, mostly girls, scrolling through different online shopping websites. I always wonder if they are actually buying things, or just browsing to pass the time. This unremitting search seems to have become an addiction, and whether people are buying items or not, this habit serves as a major advertising mechanism, as well as a means for companies to compile information about these personal shopping habits for later use.
As online shopping continues to grow more and more popular, risks and concerns about the process are also arising. Though being able to simply buy clothes off the web and have them delivered right to your door might seem convenient, retailers are taking full advantage of this increasing habit.
The first thing to look out for are shipping and handling fees. If the online website of a store in the mall two miles away is charging a $10 shipping fee, it is worth the extra buck to call the store, put the item on hold, and go pick it up in an hour, rather than wait for a week for the items arrival. Also, These shipping fees usually guarantee the maximum delivery date; however, this date is never a guarantee, as the fine print usually tells you shipping dates are an estimate according to standard shipping trends. Another issue with online shopping is that you are unable try things on. The only sample of the clothing you get is a picture, where it is very easy to mislead how nice the quality of the fabric actually is, and when you forget to read the “no-exchange” policy, that brand new dress will now sit in the back of your closet forever. It has been found that retailers mark up online products, whether they are online only items or found in the store for less. The list of cons verses the convenience of online shopping adds up, and really brings up the question of whether that five minute drive to the mall is worth it or not.
Many New York Times articles have shown recently covering how retailers are “using web coupons to compile date on your shopping habits,” which is how “related” advertisements continue to show up FaceBook side bars. Though this practice brings up privacy matters for many consumers, companies argue “the idea is to get to know customers better, and to customize the shopping experience by offering special deals or bringing new merchandise to one’s attention.”
With the continual movement towards creating our world online, questions regarding stores moving online for good are becoming more apparent, as it will save companies money since they will not have to pay for rent space. These practices prove entirely convenient for the stores, and it is now rare to find any retail store without an online shopping option.Who knows if we will we still have shopping malls in 50 years?