There's More Than One Way to Shop Online

Internet shopping has certainly come a long way. Just a few years ago, eCommerce meant going to a website, purchasing an item, and waiting for it to arrive at your doorstep. These days however, consumers have so many more choices--not just in terms of WHAT to buy, but HOW to buy their much-need (or much-wanted) items as well.

This article will shed light on some of the new eCommerce models on the web, as well as the more traditional ways to shop online. The content of this post should help you decide on the best mode of shopping that would fit your budget and lifestyle. Read on below to get insights on how to effectively find items and deals, and be sure to check the resource section of this article for further reading and to get more insights about the topic of Internet shopping.

Online Retailers

Websites such as Amazon and Zappos work in a pretty straight forward manner: Products are displayed on the site and consumers add the items that they want to their shopping carts and proceed to checkout. This is probably the most traditional way to buy stuff online and it allows shoppers to conveniently purchase practically any item with just a few clicks.

Buy / Sell Websites

There's also an array of marketplaces on the web that allow consumers to connect with real live people who are selling the things that they need; think eBay or Craigslist. If you can't find what you're looking for in retail websites, then you might have some luck with these platforms. Not to mention, if you're looking to save money by purchasing pre-owned items, you'll probably find something fairly quickly at these websites.

Daily Deals

Daily deal websites such as Groupon and LivingSocial let people buy products or services at highly discounted prices. Daily deal sites send out emails to their subscribers showcasing the available bargains that they have for that day. Consumers can view the deals and purchase the products or services that they like at extremely low rates (usually 50% - 80% off the retail price). Here's the catch though: Deals are only available for a limited time (usually 24 hours) so shoppers will need to act fast if they really want to take advantage to the bargain.

You won't find a shortage of daily deal websites on the web. Aside from the above-mentioned ones, there are a ton of similar websites out there, some of which focus on specific categories. For instance, Gilt City focuses on high-end items, RapidBuyr is all about business-related products, while AppSumo sticks to tech-related deals.

Subscription-Based Models

This is a relatively new breed of eCommerce sites. With subscription-based shopping sites, consumers sign up to receive packages and products on a regular basis (usually monthly). These types of websites usually have curators on staff that hand pick the items to be sent out to subscribers.

Examples of such websites include Wittlebee, a monthly kids clothing club, ShoeMint a subscription-based site that focuses on women's footwear, and Frank and Oak, which specializes in men's apparel.


For more information about online shopping and eCommerce in general, check out the following resources below:

Five Things to Know about Online Grocery Shopping - Interesting post on Nielsen about online grocery shopping. - Website of the ISOC, the web's trusted independent source of leadershipo for web policies, standards, and future development. - Official site of Women in eCommerce, an organization that empowers women with the latest eCommerce tools and resources.

eCommerce Merchants Trade Association - The largest trade association dedicated to eCommerce education.

eCommerce Europe - This organization's mission is to advance the interests and influence of e-commerce in Europe through advocacy, communication and networking.

Box It Up - The Rise of Subscription Commerce - Great post on KISSmetrics about the advent of subscription-based commerce.

2013 and the Rise of Ecommerce 3.0 - A good article that forecasts how eCommerce will develop in 2013. - A community of retail executives that share knowledge and lessons surrounding digital commerce.

Image credit: Steve Snodgrass on Flickr

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