Comparing Amazon and other online shopping webstores

Shopping through the internet is becoming so popular worldwide with millions of shoppers using the web to get their purchases done. Ofcom, an independent authority for communications industries in the UK, in its December 2011 reported that 8 out of 10 internet users shopped online. What makes an online webstore such as Amazon attractive to internet users?

Comparing online shopping sites

Here is a comparison of the three of the best places to shop online for consumer goods:

Amazon.com sells nearly everything. What started out as a marketplace for selling and buying books, soon branched out into other things. The orders are fulfilled by its pool of suppliers and the Amazon company. From electronics and gadgets to clothing and household appliances, you’ll find nearly everything on the site. It’s also a great place to buy used or pre-owned stuff such as video games and books that are no longer produced or printed. Amazon offers Free Super Saver Delivery within the UK for purchases of £25 and above or eligible purchases for international shipping. And, if you join Amazon Prime, you’ll get free one-day shipping for deliveries in the UK. Annual membership fee is £49. You can return your purchases if you're not happy, and the shipping’s on them. Just print a return label and bring it to the post office and Amazon will give you back the money.

eBay is basically an auction site, although there is also the possibility to use the 'buy now' button to purchase items you want right away without waiting that the bidding period runs out. Shipping costs vary from one seller to another. eBay has broader categories of goods and services and you can find anything that catches your fancy from people selling castles, houses, cars, and motorbikes in addition to clothes, electronics, apparel and footwear. eBay works together with PayPal, a trusted payment processor so your eBay purchases are covered if they never arrived, were lost or damaged. With its global sites, you can purchase anything from any corner of the world.

ASOS is another popular UK online retailer selling clothing, beauty products, and accessories. Clients can buy and sell new, pre-owned and even vintage clothes. It is mainly a fashion store selling branded labels and its own house brands. ASOS provides users with the opportunity to view fashion videos of the garments sold on the site and read blogs. There is also an ASOS outlet for discounted clothes and accessories while the ASOS Fashion Finder helps the customer locate items on the site or through rival retailers using active links. Shipping is free based on a minimum amount of spending and returns are free of charge. It also launched its ASOS Premier in 2009, a loyalty programme similar to Amazon Premier. For an annual fee of £14.95, you get next day delivery and guaranteed returns.

What matters to the customer

Indeed, online web stores provide the convenience of hassle-free shopping anywhere and any time using computers, phones, and tablets. Free shipping is an attractive deal for shoppers as well as easy returns. In addition, the diversity of product offerings matter where the customer can find everything under one roof. Other factors that play in the choice of an online shopping website such as Amazon include ease of use of the site, secure payment process, trusted product reviews, and clear store policies.

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