How Online Shopping Has Evolved in the Past Years

In recent years, the number of consumers shopping online has steadily increased. Online shopping is one area that has not been negatively impacted by the troubled economy. When online shopping first emerged, it catered mostly to wealthier consumers. At that time, computers were seen as more of a luxury. As the prices of computers have decreased, more middle and lower income people purchased computers. Now, almost every home has a computer and access to the internet. If they don’t, there is no shortage of public access computers.

In 1990 Tim Berners-Lee created the first World Wide Web server and browser. In 1992, Charles Stack created the first online book store, Book Stacks Unlimited. In 1994, online banking and the opening of an online pizza shop by Pizza Hut took place. As well, Netscape introduced SSL encryption of data transferred online which has become essential for secure online shopping. In 1995, Amazon expanded its online shopping, and in 1996, eBay emerged on the web.

Shopping has evolved along with the growth of technology. As more people become skilled at using the computer and its technology, the more likely they are to use it for all sorts of functions. As well, the increase in effective security technology and education tips for consumers on how to shop safely online has resulted in more consumers making online purchases. Online shopping retailers have expanded their marketing practices to target both men and women. For instance, in the early years of the Internet in the USA, there were very few women online, but by 2001 women were made up a little of over half of the online population. Due to the convenience and quickness of online shipping, men are now making many purchases online.

Consumers now have favorite websites they shop at so online shopping has become a normal part of their routine. If they need to search for product, search engines can effectively bring up the link to the searched product. They are now online malls, manufacturer websites, and specialty sites catering to any type of product. As well, the evolution of easy to use transaction methods with a simple check out process using credit cards, debit cards, and online accounts such as PayPal have made it easy to shop.

It has not just been online security that has been improved. The availability of so many different products online, improvements in shipping services, the use of customer loyalty programs such as reward cards, discounts, and coupons, have made shopping for deals much easier. As well, the convenience of shopping online has resulted in an increase in online shoppers. Over the years, consumers have become busier with a lot more stress in their daily lives. Online shopping allows people the ability to shop 24 hours a day/ 365 days a year. As well, they have access to online shopping from home and at work.

Advancements in technology have made significant changes in online shopping which has made it a much more appealing method of shopping. For example, consumers have access to ‘shopbots’ which are search robots that help online customers find low priced products. They also allow consumers to comparison shop by searching a number of online stores according to the keywords that they type.

With new technology emerging and more products available at great prices, online shopping is not showing any signs of slowing down.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Undergarments Shopping

When shopping for undergarments, people have to be extra careful. They should make sure that the items they choose fit comfortably and suit the clothes they wear. An undergarment, as its name suggests, is worn underneath clothing, so it is not visible to others. Even if this is so, it can greatly affect how the wearer feels and looks. Therefore, one of the factors to consider when choosing undergarments is the material or fabric it is made from. This is especially important in some climates.

Perhaps the main advantage of online undergarments shopping is the convenience it gives. It saves the time and trouble of going to different shops and falling in line to pay for the product. It would definitely be easier to shop online by browsing a number of websites to check the available products, compare prices, place an order and finally, pay over the Internet. On the other hand, the major disadvantage of online undergarments shopping is the possibility that the items won’t fit. This can be a problem with online shops that use a “no return, no exchange” policy.

If a store does not accept returns, it makes no difference if the purchase has been made online or in person. Once people buy from retail shops and they are contended with their purchase, it can be an advantage to buy the underwear online, since it is more likely to fit. Some shops accept returns on undergarments that still have their tags attached to them. Therefore, making online purchases of underwear on these sites can definitely be an advantage, even if they are not the same brand.

One more advantage of online undergarments shopping is the possibility of searching not only local shops, but stores from the entire country, as well. Shopping locally will only allow consumers to visit a few stores in person, while shopping online gives them a wide range of choices, in terms of style and color. This is particularly helpful for those who live far from urban areas. One of the disadvantages of making online purchases is the probability of experiencing poor service or not getting the ordered item on the expected date. These potential risks, however, can be prevented by purchasing from reputable online shops and from those recommended by family and friends.

Undergarments that are sold online usually have accurate and detailed descriptions. A disadvantage to this is the fact that the items for sale are not tangible. These online sites do not show all the different colors or pattern options in their online catalog. Another disadvantage of making an online purchase of underwear is the time you have to wait for the delivery.

The last disadvantage of purchasing underwear online is the shipping charge. However, since these items are lightweight, the shipping may not cost too much. Come to think of it, the amount of money that consumers spend when shopping from different local stores can just be as much as paying the costs of shipping, when it comes to transportation and fuel costs. They can, however, save these additional charges by buying from sites that provide free shipping. This is another advantage of online undergarments shopping.

Street Shopping in Brussels

We enter into a small chocolate shop in one of the lanes by the Grand Place in Brussels (Bruxelles). Though no attendant is seen from outside, a wind chime attached to the door signals that somebody is in; the shopkeeper appears to our service. We are enamored by this European style of greeting. We are in Brussels, the capital city of Belgium in Europe that is also famous for its vibrant shopping markets, besides being the capital city of the European Union.

Brussels abounds in shopping spots. According to the ministry of Economy and Employment of the Brussels, the city’s compact geography and a lot of shopping areas, each with specific characteristic, make it easy for tourists to get around in. So, one can easily reach most of the shopping areas in no time from the hotel of stay. We explore three major streets on a walking round trip in Brussels.

To begin with shopping expedition in Brussels, start on with Rue Neuve, the actual pedestrian shopping street and in fact, the longest one in Brussels, in the middle of the town. With no vehicles allowed in the street, it offers a carefree space to the walkers and one can enjoy shopping calmly here. The street is packed with clothing chains, fashion stores, perfumes, gifts, music and more such stores. At the north end of Rue Neuve, there’s a mall too. City 2, the only shopping mall in the center of town, has over 100 stores, plus cafes and restaurants.

Following the shops all the way down Rue Neuve Street takes you to the Stock Exchange building on your right, and you know you have reached the surroundings of Rue Dansaert where the Romans founded Brussels in the 10th century. However, unlike its history, the area has all contemporary shops. The place is rather trendy with Belgium designers’ boutiques, clothing and accessories stores and more.

From Rue Dansaert it’s worth walking a few meters away on your left to reach the Grand Place (Grote Markt), the central square of the city which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has tourists thronging it the most. The place is a symbol of European history but not everyone knows that it’s also a wonderful shopping destination for the real Belgian souvenirs. The narrow streets around the Grand Place is full of small shops where you can get everything that’s Belgian – from Belgian tapestries, Belgian laces, Belgian beers, Belgian chocolates and pralines to souvenirs of Manneken Pis, beer mugs and even comic strips of Tintin. In fact, Belgian tapestry shops are in abundance at this place. You can get full range of home linen made of these tapestries. Even tapestry paintings and wall hangings make for a worth buy. And when you get tired, munch on some seafood dishes or burgers at the street side restaurants that look very inviting. Also, it is in one of these streets where Manneken Pis, the famed bronze statue of a urinating boy, lies.

What’s more? The Grand Place doesn’t let you stop. The Royal Galleries just off the Grand Place is not to be missed. It’s a passageway donned in form of an enclosed portico with very high ceilings. Walking on the cobbled pavements of these galleries with shops, cafes and terraced restaurants on either side, imparts an old world charm. The area is also suitable for spending evening with a lot of local feel and variety of choices for having food. Most of the shops at the Grand Place are open until 9 PM.

Be it for the traditional Belgian tapestries, Belgian laces, Belgian beers, souvenirs or the trendy clothes, Brussels’ street shopping is an out-and-out experience. And if you thought you have missed out on anything while in Brussels, treat yourself with Belgian waffles along with some hot chocolate sauce.