Having changed the way people communicate with products like e-mail and instant messaging, Internet is now playing a key role in the shopping pattern by bringing world's top brands under the click of the mouse.
While a number of companies seeking to sell their products on the world wide web are establishing their online stores, they are also warming up to another route being offered by firms like eBay, which presents itself to the buyers and sellers as "the world's biggest shopping mall".
Promising access to over 20 lakh registered users across 670 cities and 25 lakh unique visitors a month in India alone, eBay is attracting brands like Microsoft, Canon and Sangini as well as small entrepreneurs to set up shops on its website.
The California-based online trading platform and auction giant, which has a market capitalization of over $43 billion and annual turnover of about $six billion, is providing similar platforms across all the major countries such as the US, UK and European nations. Indian portals like Indiatimes.Com and Rediff.Com also offer similar platform.
While the cost of setting up and running a store in a physical shopping mall could easily run into lakhs of rupees, an online shop comes at a fraction of this price and holds huge promise due to Internet's growing penetration.
"The cost for owning a retail store on eBay India is as low as Rs 200 per month, besides a fee equivalent to 5-10 per cent of the selling price for each product sold," the company's country manager Rajan Mehra told PTI.
It could be a time-consuming and sometimes quite costly for setting up an online shop on its own for a retailer, while there are also variable costs associated with running the venture and attracting buyers, Mehra said.