It is clear that online shopping sites are very popular in this new era of an Internet-driven marketplace, but are they really valuable? They do give you convenience, and it is always fun to be part of the way that technology is changing the world. However, to see the true value, to determine if these sites are beneficial in a monetary sense, you need to look at all of the different contributing factors. When you add them up, you can see if there are real savings or not.
First of all, you should look at how the Internet has created competition. Imagine that you live in a small, rural town. If you want to buy something in a real store, you have to pick from the one store in town or drive two hours to the city. This means that the local store can really charge whatever it wants. You have to pay it. The Internet is the exact opposite. It allows you to shop anywhere, even outside of the country, from the comfort of home. This increased level of competition drives prices down and makes sure that retailers do not try to exploit buyers.
On top of that, you can get online shopping rewards that give you money back for all of your purchases, after a fashion. You do not actually knock the money off of the cost of the goods, but you get credit that you can then use to save on future purchases. If you are just buying one thing, this does not matter very much, but it can make a huge difference if you are a collector and you plan on buying many things from the same place. Furthermore, some rewards points can be transferred to other retailers, making them even more valuable.
Savings in Gas
Driving to the city to buy something, if that city is two hours away, is going to cost you a fair bit in gas. Even if you live in the city, you might end up driving around for a while, trying to compare prices at different stores so that you can find the best value. The more driving that you do, the more gas money you spend. With the Internet, you just pay up front. You are charged the same no matter how long you are online.
When you find free shipping – having the item sent to your home is the main thing that makes Internet shopping more expensive than traditional shopping – you can really save a lot with online stores. All of these factors work together so that you can get the most for your money when you simply use a credit card online.
So are you ready for some swag?
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post.