It wasn’t too long ago when one’s buying choices were limited to what was available in the inventory in a brick-and-mortar store. For shopaholics, there was no restraint tighter than the ‘fence’ of retail stores. And then eCommerce happened, and shoppers were no longer bound to buy what they could readily have. They wanted more and they got more – all in the comfort of their homes, at their convenience and a wider range of choices than ever before.

According to a report by U.S Census Bureau, eCommerce sales for Selected Service Industries, created the E-Stats report, accounted for 1.8 percent ($124 billion) of industries’ total revenues-up from 1.6 percent ($104 billion) in 2006.

ECommerce offers some great opportunities for small to medium enterprises and also for consumers who are looking for a bargain. With the number of online shoppers continuing to grow, U.S. consumers are also spending more online. Newer applications are helping people ease their online shopping experience too! Take for instance, the launch of a web application by the US-based interactive marketing agency Zugara. It allows online shoppers to try on clothing at home using just a computer and a web cam. It uses motion capture and augmented reality technology to superimpose fitted versions of clothing items over a live video feed of the consumer. The company claims that the application is in the early stages of development.

It is no longer acceptable for any business that sells products to not have an online presence. The world is theirs to sell to, but they need to have an eCommerce site, with a fully stocked online catalog, if they want to cater to a large, widespread clientele. One can browse the online catalog at leisure, carefully make choices and proceed to the online check-out counter to get their products billed and pay via secure online transactions. Not only does a shopper have more choices than ever before, he (she) also is not constrained by business hours of a physical storefront – 24/7 shopping is the order of the day for the global shopper.

And that’s not all – there is no pesky salesman following you around. An online shopper is free to make his or her choices with absolutely no pressure or coercion. And it’s far easier to compare products of other manufacturers as well – all at the click of a button. It is no longer necessary to spend time and money driving to different ends of town to compare things like prices, manufacturers AND model numbers.

What about chatting up a fellow customer and getting his or her opinion on products, albeit unsolicited sometimes? To most shopaholics, that is required for a wholesome shopping experience. Not to disappoint, some eCommerce sites have gone ahead and added the community experience as well – most offer discussion boards, product reviews and online forums where one can find likeminded (and oftentimes, more experienced) shoppers to compare notes with.

While it is said that the internet has brought the world a whole lot closer, it must also be said that it has broadened the horizons of living – for shoppers, more than anyone else. Online shopping has various advantages over regular shopping – the only downside being that you might spend a tad more. But if the product is right, then the price of shopping is justified, right?

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