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Seven reasons to do shopping online this Diwali

Last updated on: November 10, 2012 11:11 IST

Seven reasons to do shopping online this Diwali

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Shantanu Bhattacharji in Mumbai


The total number of Web users in India could reach the 150 million mark by December 2012, growing around 10 per cent from 137 million as of June this year, according to a report released by market research firm IMRB and the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in September 2102.

A recent report by Opera Software's State of the Mobile Web reveals that e-commerce has grown to become the second largest website category in the list of top Indian domains.

India is among the top three fastest growing Internet markets in the world, a study by industry body Assocham and ComScore has said. Retail category penetration has increased to 60 per cent reach and has grown to 37.5 million unique visitors a month, the study said.

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Photographs: Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters

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In India, the e-commerce sector has witnessed 31 Private Equity and Venture Capital deals in 2012, said a report from Venture Intelligence. According to the report, for the period ended September the deals were worth around $298 million. It also said that for the full year in 2011 there were around 36 deals worth $328 million.

A few years ago, people used search engines to find specific things they needed.

Now, because of sites such as Facebook and other social media networks that make it easy for people to see what their friends are buying and for merchants to get the word out about their products, potential customers are much more likely to gain exposure to products they might not otherwise be aware of, and to shop when they weren't necessarily planning to, according to Reuters.

In the digital age, when time is money and more, people are waking up to the joys of shopping on the Net.

Business Standard lists a quick seven reasons why it makes sense to do online shopping

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Photographs: Reuters

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Cash on Delivery: Most popular Indian online stores offer the option of cash on delivery. Simply order what you want and pay the delivery boy only when he comes at your doorstep. You are almost safe from debit / credit card fraud. Also, most of the sites offer free shipping as well.

Returns policy: It is hard to get a purchase from a shop exchanged or replaced more than a fortnight after you have bought it?

That's feasible in the online world with sites like Fashion and You (www.fashionandyou.com), Jabong, (www.jabong.com), Myntra (www.myntra.com) , Yebi (www.yebi.com), among others.

They have a 30-day replacement window and even return your money if you don't like what you have bought.

Avoid the crowd: You can easily avoid unnecessary touch-and-push (especially ladies) while you shop. And during festivals and special occasions, the crowd can really give you a bad headache, forcing you to make hurried purchases often times.

Then, of course, there is the perennial problem of finding parking space.

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Photographs: Kimberly White/Reuters
Tags: Yebi , Jabong

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Choices: Name the brand and it is available. You can pick Armani, Gucci, Prada, Rolex and many others top brands from a single window.

It really puts a brake on your shop hopping for different brands. Also one can get the latest global trends without spending any extra money on airfare.

Some online stores have a provision to accept orders without stock and ship it across to you when the stock becomes available.

Price comparison: If you are in two minds about the price of a product or any other things, just go online. They provide a comparison of prices and research of products.

Online shops allow you to share information and reviews with other shoppers who have firsthand experience with a product or retailer.

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Photographs: Tom Grill/Getty Images
Tags: Rolex , Armani , Gucci , Prada

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Assistance: E-stores provide virtual help in a variety of different forms such as "you might also be interested in..." or "other shoppers who bought this item also bought..." that pops up and shows you all sorts of coordinating shopping options.

Some sites even have virtual dressing rooms, which can be useful and even have interactive styling tools.

Real Discounts: Don't get trapped by "upto 70 per cent off" signs at your favourite shopping mall. Most virtual shops offer sales and discounts all year round, starting from 10 per cent. Often, you can clinch deals at even half the price at Fashion and You, Jabong, SeventyMM and so on.

Smart Online Shopping tips
Keep the following in mind before you become an online shopping junkie
Dedicated shopping portals are usually better than general websites
Always visit known and trusted websites if you are using your debit/credit card
On foreign shopping portals, do not assume shipping is free. Watch out for import duties and taxes before making a payment
The Verified by Visa or Master Secure Code check is mandatory in India. While buying on foreign sites, DO NOT enter your debit/credit card and three-digit secret numbers just to find out the final price of a product. The amount will be deducted the moment you enter the numbers
Call the helpline to find out the estimated delivery time if it is not mentioned
Many websites have strict delivery rules for perishable items like chocolates and flowers. Read them before you order
DO NOT buy online from a public computer or cyber cafe if you are using plastic to pay
While paying in foreign currency, remember that credit cards charge a mark-up over the exchange rate. Find out how much before you hit the 'Place order' button
Always check the brand authentication certificate to the e-commerce site
Always keep the tags and invoices handy. If you lose them, exchange or return can pose a problem



Photographs: Reuters
Tags: Fashion , India

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