Much has been written about the death of store based retailing, as we know it, to be replaced by shopping on the Internet. However, it is the subject of Electronic Retailing, and specifically Electronic Home Shopping, in the business to consumer sector that is resulting in widely varying estimates on the likelihood and pace of this next evolution in retailing.
The traditional view suggests that this form of retailing will have little more impact than that currently achieved by existing mail and telephone retailing, which in most advanced nations achieves only a 5% share of total retailing. The traditional view also suggests that shopping from home over the Internet will reduce consumers to socially inactive "mouse potatoes" who lose all form of human contact
WHAT IS E-TAILING?
E-tailing is the selling of retail goods on the Internet. Short for "electronic retailing" and used in Internet discussions as early as 1995, the term seems an almost inevitable addition to e-mail, e-business, and e-commerce.
To fully define and understand e-commerce some more consideration must be given to traditional commerce. Traditional commerce involves more than just selling an item. The traditional sales cycle could be described in the following way. To meet the needs of the marketplace, business design and manufacture new products, market their products, distribute them and provide customer support, generating revenue along the way. Customers first identify a need for some product, service or information. Then they must find information about the product, fined retailers who sell the product and make comparisons before a sale is finalized. There are also a lot of post purchase practices which companies engage in, for example, customer support opinion and surveys
1997 was the year in which e-tailing begun to work for some major corporations and smaller entrepreneurs. Dell Computer reported multimillion-dollar orders taken at its Web site. The success of Amazon.com hastened the arrival of Barnes and Noble's e-tail site. Concerns about secure order taking receded. 1997 was a year in which Auto-by-Tel reported that they had sold their millionth car over the Web. CommerceNet / Nielsen Media reported that 10 million people had made purchases on the Web. And Jupiter research predicted that e-tailing would grow from $2 billion in 1997 to $37 billion by 2002.
The future prospects for e-tailing have resulted in the development of a number of software tools for creating online catalogs and managing the business connected with doing e-tailing. A new trend is the price comparison site that can quickly compare prices from a number of different e-tailers and link you to them.
Since e-tailing is growing rapidly and more people are turning to buy things through the internet, I am going to experience both online shopping and traditional retail shopping at Body Shop and to contract the difference between consumer's perspective and the professional buyer's perspective.
ONLINE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
The easier way to find a web-site address is to look under a search engine like Yahoo, About.com or many others.. Since the name "Body Shop" is quite common on the net, it took me sometime to find out the exact web address. The first page that comes to the screen is their big log and company name. The screen then disappeared in about five seconds and brings you to another page with all their news and current products. Surprisingly, they do not sell individual products online but only gift pack and these kinds of gift packs are not available in their store. In another words, the merchandise they have online are totally different than those are in the store.
Since Valentine is coming, the company is promoting different Valentine's gift pack on their web-site. Different gift packs are showing on the web page and a larger picture of each individual gift pack item can also be found. Descriptions are placed next to each...