Internet shopping is obviously a completely different experience, with different pleasures and advantages from the high street shop till you drop scenario.
The types of products that are available to us from the world wide web are unrestricted by geographical or cultural boundaries.
Specialist items are a lot easier to find on the internet, where a search for something unique or rare can only take few minutes and even fewer mouse clicks.
The internet has made it easy to buy products that were previously difficult to get.
There are many other products that customers prefer to buy on the internet.
For example, things which create some embarrassment in the buyers if they have to ask for them or look for them in shops. Or simply goods which the buyer considers useful, even necessary, but s/he is happier to select by the quick click of a mouse, without spending time in rush hour traffic and checkout queues to get them.
Men's skincare and cosmetics products fall into this category.
Most men, apparently, prefer ordering them over the internet. They want these products but donít want the hassle of going to a shop and speaking to a consultant.
In addition, on the Net you can find out a lot about the products you are interested in, read the experts' reviews as well as the customers' comments, gather a wealth of information on your desired goods, and make a much better informed, more educated choice.
It is possible to research one's purchases using websites that compare the prices of different products, different models and different companies.
They take the time and hassle out of searching the web for the best prices, bringing hundreds of shopping sites and merchants together in one site. They do this for everything: from computer consumables to flowers to DVD players, in one place.
, Kelkoo and Pricerunner are among the best and most famous of these price and shop comparison services.
This is what the internet is best for: what in the real world would take you hours or even days, in the virtual world will take you seconds or minutes.
Saving time is one advantage. Saving money is another. And here the Web is excellent too.
The price comparison sites, for example, not only increase choice for the consumers but they also develop competition among the sellers, which leads to reduction in prices.
A website does not have the overhead costs of a brick and mortar shop in the centre of town, and this lowering of its costs is passed on to you as the buyer: you spend less for the same product, because you did not have to pay your share for the shop's rent, sales assistants salaries and so on, which were all reflected in the retail price.
Often, manufacturers sell directly to consumers from their websites: these direct sales are another source of the cheap prices and bargains that float on the surface of the internet sea for you to surf and grab.
Shopping on the internet can save you hundreds of pounds. To buy a new digital camera, take a trip to the virtual high street: it is likely to be cheaper than a trip to the shops. But this does not apply to all types of products.
For items like DVD players, it is easy to save up to 20 per cent by buying online. For others, bargains are less frequent: laser printers are only about 3 per cent cheaper.
Shopping obviously has its joys too. If you are one of those people like it, even the crowds of London's Oxford Circus on a Saturday afternoon won't put you off. They like the experience of touching, feeling, smelling the products, the music of the shop, even the crowds milling around in department stores.
Shopping in a store is a five-senses experience, shopping on the internet is a two-dimensions one.
Shopping on the high street, however, is not good for shopholics and obsessive compulsive buyers. Impulsive buying is tempting and encouraged by the shop experience, but much less provoked by a two-dimensional photo with short description on a website.
On the internet you are much more likely to buy only what you need and had already planned (and budgeted) for, rather than purchase things which you've just seen and fallen in love with, but will end up unused or never worn.
That is good for the purse too. And for the debt problem.