Online shopping does not only cover searching for a product, purchasing them and wait for delivery. It entails more than that. It is about convenience and you need to compare prices as well. Ultimately, what you want is to buy something (at your convenience of course!) which is value-for-money and that you are satisfied with. In fact, you should feel BETTER than buying offline because you strike a good deal! Here are the types of online purchasing:
Where it was once a trend and a major buzz in shopping, group buying has decline in popularity in recent years. Names like Groupon, GroupME and Streetdeals were extremely popular during the early 2010s. Sellers will have a special price or promotion for a certain product and if the numbers (of buyers) come in, then the deal is on. These names have since disappeared from the market and now replaced with the likes of Fave. While it was once common to sell all types of items and products, they are now more focused on F&B and services.
Tip: Always check with the service provider before buying from these sites(Groupon, Dealmates, Ensogo and many more). Some hotel stays are cheaper but they are only applicable on certain dates. This is the same for F&B as well. You do not want to buy the item and then not being able to use it when you want to.
Straight out E-Commerce Sites
This type of business was the earliest form of E-Commerce and they still are. In fact, they are back! Stronger than ever! Names like Lazada and Zalora are among the common names in this market. You get to buy all types of products ranging from household goods, digital devices, gadgets and even contraceptives. You have to be aware though that the retailers might not be the ones selling all the products and they function as an e-exchange for other retailers and function as a drop-shipper.
Tip: Always compare prices. From Lazada itself, you can get the same item at different prices through various third-party retailers. Don’t jump to the first item you see. Always browse longer before committing.
Typically, these type of retailers are middle-man businesses. They provide the portal for other or third-party retailers to list their products for sale and then connect them with customers. Lazada provides such a function while there are others like Mudah who fully functions like this.
Tip: Always check where your item is arriving from. Some comes from overseas which mean it would take a longer time to arrive. Some retailers offer COD which makes it a lot more convenient for you.
Using the power of social media and Web 2.0, bloggers and trend setters are able to sell products to consumers. In fact, fashion blogs have been extremely popular in recent years where they function as a reviewer, tester and seller. As the bloggers have a lot of followers, they become influencers which will attract brand owners and apparels to use them for promotion.
Tip: You might like the item you see from the blogger but that does not mean you MUST buy from him/her. The same item could be cheaper if you look for e-commerce sites. Use the blog as your reference, not your primary shopping point.
Names like Lelong and ebay would strike a chord with buyers in this segment. Where they started out as auction sites, such a model is no longer as popular as before. In fact, ebay and Lelong have both changed their business models to be more relevant for today’s market. While ebay still practices its auction services, it has now moved on to be an e-retailer as well as carrying out drop-shipping. Meanwhile, Lelong has since moved on to become an e-retailer as well as a marketplace for third party retailers.
Tip: If you are not going to auction, then don’t! These sites are great to buy used items only if you really need them.
Multiple Branded Stores
A more modern type of retailer is the multiple-branded stores. You can think of them as an e-retailer and a drop-shipper combined with a group buying site. How this works is that first the retailer starts a portal. Then, they will find brands (usually popular ones) with stock overruns or out-of-season goods. They then list these goods (based on their brands) on their site with a limited purchase time. The more brands they carry, the better it is for the store because that means they attract more buyers. They maintain their portal as a drop-shipper and does not carry any inventory. Reebonz and Mysale are among those in this sector.
Tip: This is where you need to decide very quickly on the item you are buying. Time is usually limited but you must always compare the price with the usual retail price before buying your item even if it looks really attractive.