Home shopping allows consumers to shop for goods from the privacy of their own home, as opposed to traditional shopping, which requires one to visit a shop physically.
Mail order firms
- Mail order business is run by manufacturers or specialist mail order warehouses.
- They sell goods to customers by sending expensive catalogues or by local part-time agents.
- Goods are ordered with the help of post or with the help of the part-time agents.
- Goods ordered are send to the buyers by parcel post.
- The method of payment is cash on delivery (C.O.D) or cash with order (C.W.O).
- Payments can be made in instalments if the payments are collected by part-time agents.
- Mail order firms buy goods in bulk from manufacturers and sell at competitive prices.
- There is no need for expensive large buildings.
- There is no need to employee qualified sales staff.
- the catalogues and part-time agents act as a permanent advertisement.
- There is no need for the customers to visit the shop as goods are sent to the customers’ doorstep.
- There is a high cost involved in making the catalogues and advertisement.
- There are high operational expenses in the form of commission to agents, cost of packaging and delivery charges.
- There is lack of personal contact between the customers and the mail order firm.
- The mail order firm has difficulty in selling the goods returned by customers.
- No after-sales service is provided.
- Sometimes there maybe delay in the delivery of goods.
- The mail order firm takes a long time to refund the money for goods returned by customers.
Doorstep selling, Mobile Markets
Traders go from door-to-door selling items like cleaning products, encyclopedias, etc. This is called doorstep selling. Traders also use their vans for selling green groceries, groceries, ice-creams, etc. This type of selling is called mobile market.
Shopping on the internet/Electronic Shopping
In electronic shopping over the internet or the local online network via the internet, the customers can order the goods direct from the online retailer in any part of the world via internet email. Online retailer or the warehouse can develop their website to advertise their products to the potential customers. Payment can be made by cash or by credit cards. The goods will then be sent by post or courier direct to the customer’s doorstep after confirmation of payment.
Advantages of Electronic shopping
For the retailer
- The shop can be open 24 hours a day to customers all over the world.
- It is not very expensive to set up. Only a personal computer, web browser and an internet connection are required. To set up a professional online store, a professional web designer can also be hired.
- It is convenient, time and cost saving because, because the email system sent to any part of the world, including the home country, costs the same. In this aspect, electronic shopping has eliminated the distance barrier.
- Since all the information is processed electronically, there will be less room for error.
- It allows quick exchange of information and feedback from customers.
- Small businesses can now effectively compete with the larger ones in the market place.
- The internet allows for the testing of new services and products in the media. Electronic shopping is very suitable to market information technology (IT) related products like banking, purchase of airline tickets, making hotel or travel arrangements, purchase of books, stocks, bonds, flowers and greeting cards.
For the customer
- It is convenient, time and cost saving. The customers do not need to face traffic jams and parking problems to go to a particular shop to buy the goods that he wants. He shops from home, by using a computer that is connected to the internet.
- Goods can be bought from any part of the world.
- He is able to shop at any time at his own convenience.
Disadvantages of electronic shopping
For the retailer
- Online retailers need to employ specialized personnel who experts not only in marketing but also in computer technology in order to participate in this type of retailing.
- it takes time for a potential on-line retailer to implement an internet strategy properly. This sort of online marketing requires close co-ordination. Sales and customer services have to be involved 24 hours a day. Sales staff maybe overwhelmed at having to answer queries by email and the fact that the customers have direct access to information.
For the customer
- Sometimes it may be difficult to verify the authenticity and integrity of the online retailer, especially the newly started ones. The customers do not get to see the retail outlet. Moreover, he may even have to give the retailer his credit card details and pay for the goods before he even receives it. (Note: many improvements of methods of assuring the authenticity of the retailer has been made in recent years.)
- There is a lack of privacy and lack of security since there is the possibility of someone intercepting the transaction details.
- There is likely to be no after-sales service.
Shopping by phone
Goods can be ordered by phone through which the delivery address can be given. Good will be sent to the customer’s doorstep by post, courier or through a delivery boy. Payment can be made by cash or credit card.
Telesales and television shopping
There are television channels which dedicate a considerable length of time for displaying and marketing products which has now become known as television shopping. A very detailed information and features of a particular product can be given. The customers are given the instructions on how to order the product while the show is on. There are incentives given to promote purchase of goods through this method. The goods are delivered to the customer’s doorstep after the order. This is also a type of electronic shopping, therefore most of the advantages of electronic shopping applies to this method also.