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ONLINE SHOPPING: The basic pros and cons

Have you ever bought anything online? Tell us!
by Neps Firmalan | Feb 23, 2012
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Ah, the Internet. It's one big place where a ton of things is possible. From viral vids and social-networking to helping your business and gaming. It's also an instrument to get first servings on news even before huge media outlets, thanks to the likes of Twitter and Facebook. However, we're particularly interested right now in one aspect that involves your hard-earned "katas ng dugo't pawis" ---buying stuff online. We know, it's certainly nothing new with titans like Amazon making it even almost a normal everyday thing. Fact is, the author of this article already purchased a few small things through online channels, but we also know that is certainly not the case for all of us. Now let's take a brief discussion on the things about buying online that can be viewed as pros and cons.


Shopping at home

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For the positives of online purchase, there's the convenience of having to order something and have it delivered to your door without physically going to the store. There's also ready availability and the up-to-date info on what's available and/or out of stock. The abundance of product choices also comes to mind. With the Internet, you can search for specific things in many online stores and see the one that's in stock, has the best price and tickles your fancy the most for you to click that "buy" button. Certainly beats having to visit different shops or malls just to see the good deals or designs, right? Of course, there's also the perceived easiness in paying for the items. For example, if you have a PayPal account, you can just use that to pay for your purchase without having to take out your wallet.

Sounds easy and convincing enough? Maybe, but as always, there are also risks involved which could explain why even some of the most Internet-savvy peeps put off buying online. So, what are the things that might discourage Internet users from purchasing something via the Internet, however small or big it may be? We can think of three factors: money (of course), security and product quality.


Mistaken delivery

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The first one is certainly a no-brainer. Times are hard and buying something online may be seen as an act of luxury rather than necessity by some. Earning money is hard work, so many of us would rather shelve online purchases and make saving up the main priority. Then there's security. True, online transactions are advertised as safe. But, is it 100% secure? We beg to differ. Online credit accounts can and will be compromised, no thanks to the increasing craftiness of cybercriminals, not to mention, our own carelessness. This is a huge factor why many are not comfortable with the idea of, say, purchasing a new limited edition jacket from an online seller.

Another major consideration is the actual quality of the product you're eyeing. Sure, it may look nice on your screen, with no indication of damage. But, when it arrives, you might discover that it's not of top quality, has wear and tear and, for items like shoes or shirts, doesn't fit you at all. In other words, you may have been duped. You could demand a refund and return the product but that's something that could be easier said than done. The major realization here is nothing beats seeing a product and holding it first hand (for the tangible ones) to know you're getting your money's worth. The same goes for deals (i.e. food promos, trip or relaxation packages). It might look very enticing at first but, when you finally use it, you could find that it isn't what it seems.

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Your take

We're not saying buying something online is bad, far from it actually. We're just pointing out that it has its risks. Now we ask you, have you bought anything online (aside from apps and software from portals like the Apple App Store and the Android Market)? Do the pros outweigh the cons that you are willing to put your money on the line online or is it the other way around? Let us know in the poll and/or comments section below.

Note: We're not including buying apps and software from portals like the Apple App Store, Android Market since we're pretty sure many of you already did to pimp out your mobile devices (which many of us have). We'd like to focus more on other things like online deals and tangible products.

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