People have a lot to say about the internet, and not all of it is good; in fact, at times, it feels like people only focus on the negative aspects. But there are, of course, many positive sides to the web. Take the impact it has had on consumers, for example. It’s easy to overlook, but the digital age has put a tremendous amount of power in the hands of consumers, far beyond what consumers had in the pre-digital age. Today, web users can leave reviews, find new products, and get access to everything from introductory betting offers to heavily discounted electronic products. In other words: you’d much rather be a consumer in today’s age rather than at times in the past. In this blog, we’ll outline exactly why that is.
Access to Reviews
If you were to buy, say, a microwave in 1980, you’d have to hope that it was as awesome as the advertiser told you it was. Unless a friend had the same model, you were taking a chance every time you made a purchase. Today, that’s no longer the case. Whatever you’re looking to buy, you’ll find reviews online which will tell you whether it’s worth your money or not. In a sense, reviews help to keep the system in check: if a company receives nothing but bad reviews, they’re unlikely to be around too much longer.
Let’s go back to the microwave scenario of 1980. When you made your purchase, you’d have to hope that you were getting the best deal — beyond calling up every retailer in your state, you didn’t really know if you were paying under or over the odds. The web makes it easy to find out the average price of a product. If a store is charging significantly more than that price, then you’ll know it’s time to look elsewhere. You can also get deals on things as wide-ranging as online betting, vacations, software, and electronics.
Product and Service Availability
We take for granted that we can have access to anything and everything that’s available. But that hasn’t always been true. If you lived in a remote mountain town in Wyoming, then it’s unlikely that you could have gotten your hands on the latest products without doing a considerable amount of work. In fact, you may not have realized what the latest products even were. With your smartphone in your pocket, you can stay up to date with all the newly-available products and get them delivered to your door within a matter of days. That might not make a massive difference to people who live in cosmopolitan cities, but it’s pretty groundbreaking for people who live in more rural areas.
And then there’s the matter of convenience. No matter where you lived, in the olden days, you would have had to get up, dressed, and out into the world if you wanted to buy an item. And even then, you were limited to working hours. Today, you can order essentially anything you want while wearing pajamas, at any time of day. There’s little point wondering what the future will be like: the future is already here!
The rise of the internet has simultaneously increased and decreased consumption. There’s a lively second-hand culture online, where people can sell products they no longer want. Again, this is something that would be possible in the past, but it would have required a fair amount of effort — a yard sale, for instance. Today, you can just list the item on a second-hand website and sell it to people all over the world.
Ultimately, the internet has put consumers in control. They can now decide what they buy, where they buy, and even things like how they pay or how the item is delivered to them. It’s an entirely different experience from how things happened in the past, and consumers are all the better off for it.