Buying Over the Air

     We all buy stuff regularly, right? Whether they are necessities or entertainment, we all have to head over to that mall downtown and search for that item in the many stores inside. Well, all items had to be bought like that a decade ago. But in this present technology, you don’t have to head over to the mall for all your shopping. Thanks to some companies who are dedicated to giving you what you want in an instant, they, in their own way, revolutionized a shopping platform that is now taking the world by storm. Welcome to Digital Distribution.

     Let’s face it. Not everything can be obtained digitally. It would certainly be weird if groceries were downloaded into your computer. But for those that can be digitally obtained, such as media and other easily obtained items, there are great places to fulfill your digital cravings.

     Amazon.com LogoFirst, there are the stores that offer the solid, touchable items. The benefit of these platforms is that they allow you to track and buy items all within the comforts of a computer. The most notable stores that belong in this category are Amazon.com and eBay. While they do offer media, they are mostly dedicated to offering customers material objects that can be purchased in a snap. Just click the buy button and expect your purchase to be shipped within a few days or weeks, or even within 24 hours in the case of stores such as the Apple Online Store.

     iTunes LogoThen there are the fully digital platforms. Based on their respective categories, they offer media that can be purchased and downloaded the moment the transaction is complete. For instance, music is the specialty of the very popular iTunes Music Store, while Valve Steam specializes in the distribution of video games. Based on varying size and internet bandwidth, one’s purchase can be downloaded into the computer nearly instantly or within a few days.

    Steam Logo So what are the benefits of Digital Distribution? One is that most of the time, they tend to be cheaper than their retail counterparts. This is because expenses such as packaging, shipping, and regional taxation no longer have to be considered. Another benefit is less clutter. One doesn’t have to worry about losing important boxes or having a full attic because the important media and other files, such as serial numbers, are safely locked inside an account. Lastly, there’s the environmental impact. The fact that these items no longer have to be packaged or shipped significantly reduces the carbon footprint of a certain product, practically down to zero.

     Of course, retail isn’t going to leave anytime soon. I still buy music in a retail store since I have no access to the iTunes Store in the country I live in. Also, some retail items are cheaper than their digital counterparts. Buying Spore in our retail store is a lot cheaper than what is offered on Steam, though the annoying DRM that comes with the retail version makes the digital version more appealing. Still, it would be nice to see where the direction of purchasing items will go. What about you? Do you buy stuff online or do you still head over to that favorite mall of yours for your shopping needs?

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~ by Ian on March 16, 2009.

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