The emergence of online shopping as we know today developed with the emergence of the Internet. Initially, this platform only functioned as an advertising tool for companies, providing information about its products. It quickly moved on from this simple utility to actual online shopping transaction due to the development of interactive Web pages and secure transmissions.Specifically, the growth of the internet as a secure shopping channel has developed since 1994, with the first sales of Sting album Wine, chocolates, and flowers soon followed and were among the pioneering retail categories which fueled the growth of online shopping. Researchers found that having products that are appropriate for e-commerce was a key indicator of Internet success.Many of these products did well as they are generic products which shoppers did not need to touch and feel in order to buy. But also importantly, in the early days, there were few shoppers online and they were from a narrow segment: affluent, male, 30+. Online shopping has come along way since these early days and -in the India- accounts for significant percents (depending on product category as percentages can vary).
Online stores are usually available 24 hours a day, and many consumers in Western countries have Internet access both at work and at home. Other establishments such as Internet cafes, community centers and schools provide internet access as well. In contrast, visiting a conventional retail store requires travel or commuting and costs such as gas, parking, or bus tickets, and must usually take place during business hours. Delivery was always a problem which affected the convenience of online shopping.This now meant that customers could purchase goods online and pick them up at a nearby convenience store, making online shopping more advantageous to customersIn the event of a problem with the item consumers are concerned with the ease of returning an item in exchange for the correct product or a refund. Consumers may need to contact the retailer, visit the post office and pay return shipping, and then wait for a replacement or refund. Some online companies have more generous return policies to compensate for the traditional advantage of physical stores. For example, the online shoe retailer
Consumers find a product of interest by visiting the website of the retailer directly or by searching among alternative vendors using a shopping search engine Once a particular product has been found on the website of the seller, most online retailers use shopping card to allow the consumer to accumulate multiple items and to adjust quantities, like filling a physical shopping cart or basket in a conventional store. A "checkout" process follows (continuing the physical-store analogy) in which payment and delivery information is collected, if necessary. Some stores allow consumers to sign up for a permanent online account so that some or all of this information only needs to be entered once. The consumer often receives an e-mail confirmation once the transaction is complete. Less sophisticated stores may rely on consumers to phone or e-mail their orders (although full credit card numbers, expiry date, and card security code or bank account and routing number should not be accepted by e-mail, for reasons of security).