Nowadays, shopping has become so convenient and effortless that it can be done each day. In fact, you can choose to do it at any time of the day or night. And no matter what you need, it can be delivered to your doorstep with just a few clicks. But there was a time when shopping wasn't a mundane activity. It was an 'event' and needed to be planned weeks or days in advance. Friends or family would set out as a squad with 'mission shopping' on their minds. Such shopping does happen even today but has become less common, thanks to the busy schedule of the average Indian. Today, people can't seem to find enough time for their family and loved ones, let alone shopping. That's when online shopping comes as a blessing and solace. With more and more people realising the convenience, online has become a buzzing new market place. Even well-known retail brands with well-established outlets now have e-commerce portals simply to prevent shoppers from slipping away.

The Aware Shoppers
Once upon a time, shopkeepers were the best bet for product information and they also helped customers through the purchasing process. But technology has reversed this scenario. With every minute information right from product details to product review — all available online, at the click of a button, there's a major shift of power into the hands of the shopper. With convenient return policies offered by e-com sites, it has become imperative for sellers to deliver superior quality and service the customers well.

Mobile - the catalyst!        
Driving around from one shop to the other or trekking through the narrow lanes of popular markets, in search of the perfect piece, is the way of the past. Thanks to technology, today, all you need to do is a search on the web or an App, and you get it all. Even with offline stores, you can find the shortest route to the store, check traffic and store hours, look for coupons, check product availability and even get it delivered in a call!

A time-saver
There was a time when grocery shopping meant a busy evening at the crowded market or supermarket, full of chaos and heavy on bargaining! Over time, this situation has changed and customer’s convenience has become the utmost priority. From on call home delivery to shopping via App and paying via credit card, it's all at your fingertips. The best part is you get it all at one place, and you don’t even have to spend time bargaining. Plus, you get great offers too!

Virtual try outs
Another reason why people had to personally visit the stores is that only then could they touch, feel and examine the product thoroughly, and be satisfied about it prior to purchase. But with today’s advanced interactive video technology, you can, not just have a 360 degree view of the product, but there are also gesture controls, and some retailers even provide Virtual try-ons. So be it a wrist watch or a piece of jewellery, shopping is possible without having to step out of your home or office.

Reviews - out in the open
There are some things technology cannot change! While our purchasing methods have changed drastically, seeking opinion before a buy is a habit that still remains. Whether it’s a high value purchase – TV/laptop, or a low one – clothing/accessories, our decisions are highly influenced by reviews and opinions. Earlier, we relied on the views and recommendations of our near and dear ones, and other known sources, but now, reviews are aplenty and are available on a platter, online. For every product up for sale, you can find ample amount of reviews, a lot of which you can rely on, and some, which you would need to take with a pinch of salt.

Personal connect
With the advent of Internet, brands have become more accessible and approachable than ever before. Any latest update about the brand —new product launch, seasonal offers or more is now instantly communicated to the customer through an SMS, E-mail or Notification. Retailers engaging on social media and other portals enjoy a direct communication with their customers. They can also get feedback and reviews from the customers, which help them gain a better perspective about their offerings. Having an online presence makes it relatively easier to create and maintain customer loyalty. Realising this unique opportunity, more brands have turned digital. Now the next step is to see brands having interesting and fun conversations with their customers, which is not yet strongly seen in India.

Hope you too have gone digital with shopping and have enjoyed the convenience and freedom of choice associated with it. With a safe and secure banking app in tow, you can simply shop, pay and do a whole lot more with least efforts. 
If you liked what you read, do check out other articles in the series.

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Disclaimer: This article is for information purpose only. The views expressed in this article are personal and do not necessarily constitute the views of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. and its employees.