Everything is being done online these days with more and more people becoming used to the workings of the Internet and speeds getting faster on an almost daily basis so that all tasks can be done in a matter of seconds – just how we like it. From communicating with friends and family on the other side of the globe to watching live sport and catching up on last night’s television; the web has provided us with the platform to do just about everything from the comfort of our sofas.
Even when we do venture away from home, we’re still able to get online and access our favourite sites and download music from our various handheld devices including smartphones and tablet computers; while desktop PCs have become a thing of the past and super-slim, super-fast laptops and netbooks have become the in-thing with people now able to work on their way to and from the office to stay on schedule.
The web has also enabled us to do our shopping online in the form of eCommerce which has brought about the phrase “the death of the high street” that we hear so often on news reports. Everywhere you look in towns and cities there are stores that have closed down and you only have to think back around ten years to established companies that were once thriving and now no longer exist because their customers opted for eCommerce sites instead.
This has raised a question though – does buying and selling online really save and make us any money? After all, not every town centre has become a ghost town – some are doing really well and every weekend they’re packed with customers from opening and closing, so are there any savings to be had on the web and is there money to be made from a business perspective?
The short answer is, essentially, yes. If you think about it, some stores are doing very well offline, the physical high street or shopping centre stores. The web opens up a whole world (literally) of possibilities because customers are now able to buy from anywhere in the world rather than one specific place local to them and they can also do it whenever they get the time as opposed to being restricted to store opening hours.
There are two main ways of shopping online. Either by visiting the web page and ordering the product(s) and having them delivered to your home; or ordering online and collecting from your local store or branch. This takes away a lot of annoyance from customers who have found the product(s) they’re looking for to be out of stock in the shops and being told “we can order it in for you”, when they can do it themselves or look elsewhere to find a shop that has it in stock.
Of course, there are other ways of shopping and one such example is to look for online auction sites like eBay which allow users to buy and sell goods ranging from cars and motorbikes to desk accessories and curtains; and they can even buy directly from other users, with customers able to buy and sell clothes online at Swap.com cutting out the virtual middle man completely.
These two methods allow shoppers to find amazing deals with brand new products available at significantly reduced prices for whatever reason. It may be that the product has slight damage which the current owner cannot repair or afford to fix but someone else might if they can get it for a good price; or it may just be that someone bought an item or received one as a gift that they no longer want or have no use for and they think they could make some money from somewhere so they put it online for people to bid on or make an offer for. These sites have become incredibly popular with millions of registered users and transactions taking place throughout the world 24/7.
People who have taken advantage of these offers – and plenty of businesses themselves run their own stores on sites like eBay – have made huge savings at times, while those making the sales have found that there is decent money to be made on items that they no longer need or could live without. Clothes, memorabilia, games, DVDs and electrical items are in great demand around the world and, if marketed the right way on the auction sites, can bring in significant amounts of money even though you’ve had them sat in a cupboard for years. Thank you Internet!