Online shopping is a growing area of technology. Establishing a store on the Internet, allows for retailers to expand their market and reach out to consumers who may not otherwise visit the physical store. The convenience of online shopping is the main attraction for the consumers. Unique online payment systems offer easy and safe purchasing from other individuals. Electronic consumers exhibit different buying behaviors such as; cart abandonment. The benefits of shopping online also come with potential risks and dangers that consumers must be aware of. In the future, we can expect online stores to improve their technology tremendously, allowing for an easier and a more realistic shopping experience.
II) Current Use:
A company that wants to market their items online can establish an online store by developing a website. These stores usually consist of several department areas with the merchandize organized accordingly. The consumer may view the products’ picture, item details, materials, sizing, etc. If the consumer chooses to add the item to his or her virtual shopping cart, they are usually given the option to continue shopping or proceed to checkout. Once the consumer proceeds to checkout, the credit card transaction is completed and the item is prepared and shipped from the retailer to the consumer. Many physical retail stores have expanded their market by using the Internet. By having both a virtual store and a physical store, companies get the best of both worlds. Stores that are marketing their products in both areas can take advantage of the high demand for online shopping availability. The ability to shop for products online gives consumers the option to purchase goods off of the Internet with the convenience of not even leaving his or her home. Others; however, still enjoy and prefer to go into a physical store to make purchases. For some consumers their method of purchase is not because of a preference but because of generation gap. In order to shop online, the consumer must be relatively familiar with computers and how to navigate the Internet. Internet retail stores target a specific age group. “The Net-generation is made up of individuals (Net-geners) born between 1977 and 1997” (Kim & Ammeter, 2008). This “is the first generation to grow up surrounded by digital media and the Internet” (Kim & Ammeter, 2008). For those born before the 1970s, “The online market [is] a new innovation for them so they [are] less familiar with online shopping”. “Pre Net-geners have a relatively lower capability to utilize the excess of information available on the Internet” (Kim & Ammeter, 2008). Because of this, online retailers market to the Net-generation in order to be successful and profitable. Also rising in popularity, are online websites, which allow consumers to sell and purchase to each other. Payment Systems such as PayPal have made shopping online much easier. and more consumers are gaining access to the PayPal system. “Customers with a virtual wallet for online global shopping, empowering a new segment of consumers to buy products and services on the web ' without the use of a credit card” (DBS and PayPal, 2010). This payment option allows for safe transactions between two private parties.
III) Potential Problems:
It is important for consumers to use caution when visiting online shopping websites regularly. The convenience of online shopping could pose a potential threat to those with addictive personalities.“ I have a serious Amazon habit, and spend far too much each month… since I pay the credit-card account, my wife has little inkling of just how much I spend” confesses a man (Spencer, 2010). Because of the easy accessibility and simple click of a button to purchase goods, shopping addictions could be a serious danger of online shopping. This habit can lead to financial and domestic problems in the household. Making purchases online means consumers will use virtual shopping carts. Online...