Online shopping or online retailing is a form of electronic commerce allowing consumers to directly buy goods or services from a seller over the Internet without an intermediary service. An online shop, e-shop, e-store, Internet shop, web-shop, web-store, online store, or virtual store evokes the physical analogy of buying products or services at a bricks-and-mortar retailer or shopping center. The process is called business-to-consumer (B2C) online shopping. When a business buys from another business it is called business-to-business (B2B) online shopping. The largest online retailing corporations are E-Bay and Amazon.com, both of which are based in the US. History
In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee created the first World Wide Web server and browser. It opened for commercial use in 1991. In 1994, other advances took place, such as online banking and the opening of an online pizza shop by Pizza Hut. During that same year, Netscape introduced SSL encryption of data transferred online, which has become essential for secure online shopping. Also in 1994, the German company Intershop introduced its first online shopping system. In 1995, Amazon.com launched its online shopping site, and in 1996 eBay appeared. Customers
Online customers must have access to a computer and a method of payment.
Generally, higher levels of education, income, and occupation of the head of the household correspond to more favorable perceptions of shopping online. Also, increased exposure to technology increases the probability of developing favorable attitudes towards new shopping channels.
In a December 2011 study, Equation Research found that 87% of tablet users made an online transaction with their tablet device during the early holiday shopping season. Logistics
Consumers find a product of interest by visiting the website of the retailer directly or by searching among alternative vendors using a shopping search engine.
Once a particular product has been found on the website of the seller, most online retailers use shopping cart software to allow the consumer to accumulate multiple items and to adjust quantities, like filling a physical shopping cart or basket in a conventional store. A "checkout" process follows (continuing the physical-store analogy) in which payment and delivery information is collected, if necessary. Some stores allow consumers to sign up for a permanent online account so that some or all of this information only needs to be entered once. The consumer often receives an e-mail confirmation once the transaction is complete. Less sophisticated stores may rely on consumers to phone or e-mail their orders (though credit card numbers are not accepted by e-mail, for security reasons). Payment
Online shoppers commonly use a credit card to make payments. However, some systems enable users to create accounts and pay by alternative means, such as:
* Billing to mobile phones and landlines
* Cash on delivery (C.O.D., offered by very few online stores) * Cheque/ Check
* Debit card
* Direct debit in some countries
* Electronic money of various types
* Gift cards
* Postal money order
* Wire transfer/delivery on payment
* Invoice, especially popular in some markets/countries, such as Switzerland
Some sites will not accept international credit cards. Some require both the purchaser's billing address and shipping address to be in the same country in which the site does its business. Other sites allow customers from any country to send gifts anywhere. The financial part of a transaction might be processed in real time (for example, letting the consumer know their credit card was declined before they log off), or might be done later as part of the fulfillment process. Product delivery
Once a payment has been accepted the goods or services can be delivered in the following ways.
* Downloading: This is the method often used for digital media products...
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