Online Shopping

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Online Shopping, a form of electronic commerce whereby consumers directly buy goods or services from a seller over the Internet without an intermediary service. As the technology has improved so rapidly recently, there are many types of online shopping coming out such as eshop, e-store, Internet shop, web-shop, web-store, online store, or virtual store.

Since the emergence of the World Wide Web, merchants have sought to sell their products to people who surf the Internet. Shoppers can visit web stores from the comfort of their homes and shop as they sit in front of the computer. There are a variety of items available from online stores for consumers. In fact, people can purchase just about anything from companies that provide their products online. Books, clothing, household appliances, toys, hardware, software, and health insurance are just some of the hundreds of products consumers can buy from an online store. [1]

Contents

Brief Evolution of Online Shopping

Gerenal Timeline of Online Shopping

1960

1960 was the year which basically initiates the history of E-commerce. EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) permits companies to carry out electronic transactions. Electronic data interchange (EDI) is the structured transmission of data between organizations by electronic means. It is used to transfer electronic documents or business data from one computer system to another computer system, i.e. from one trading partner to another trading partner without human intervention. Although the concept of eCommerce did not touch the daily Internet user till the era of 1990s yet some big players had started to use EDI in the early 1960. EDI was developed by National Institute of Standards and Technology. The railroad industry was among the first to understand the importance of EDI and start using the same. Other players in the transportation industry followed. [2]

1982

This was the year for France to jot down her name in the history books. France based telecom company invented Minitel which has been considered as the most happening pre-WWW online service. Minitel was a Videotex online service and was accessible through the telephone lines. In February 2009, France Telecom indicated the Minitel network still had 10 million monthly connections, among which 1 million are on the 3611 (directory). France Telecom retired the service on the 30th of June 2012.

1984

Jane Snowball was tagged as the first ever home shopper when at the age of 72 she became Tesco's customer. It was also the year 1984 itself when the world's first B2C (Business-to-Consumer) online shopping system was launched by Tesco. However, this action did not attract many people's attention. Tesco's initial idea was to make this kind of online shopping system known to most consumers. The system or the Internet was neither widespread in use nor fast enough to accommodate e-commerce at this time.

1990-1992

In 1990 Tim Berners-Lee created the first World Wide Web server and browser. It opened for commercial use in 1991. People needed for there to be some way to access online stores before those stores could be up and running. This server had to develop to a point where in-home computer access was increasingly common. The use of online system was spread quickly in the mid of 1991.

In 1992, several years before Amazon was launched, the first-ever online bookstore was opened by a man named Charles Stack. Originally called Book Stacks Unlimited it eventually become Books.com. [3]

1994

1994 could be tagged as the "Mother of all Years" for eCommerce as Netscape launched encryption certificate which became the trustworthy means of transmitting data over the Internet. Certificates gave the browsers a chance to trust a source before displaying its data and sharing personal information. Something that helped the end consumer shower more interest on the Internet and indirectly on eCommerce transactions.

This wasn’t all. The year 1994 also marked the launch of Yahoo! though the domain was registered later in the year 1995. This truly gave the Internet and eCommerce a completely new direction. Pizza Hut developed an online ordering and payment system in 1994 for testing in some areas. Interestingly, although they started online shopping options back then, it wasn’t until 2007 that this option became available for every single one of their locations. Growth of the Internet, increased Internet speeds and other technological advances were what eventually made this happen.

1995-1999

This was the year when NSF started charging a fee for registering domain names. At that time the Internet had 12,000 domain names registered and the number jumped to over 2 Million in the next 3 years. Amazon.com started selling each and everything online. PayPal came into existence in the year 1998. The current PayPal system that we see is actually the merger of X.COM, a financial service company of the late 2000s, and Cofinity which happened to be a payment and cartographic company. It was the year 1998 only when Google entered the world of eCommerce and Yahoo! launched Yahoo! Stores online.

2000-present

The ongoing dot-com investment bust in 2000 and PayPal is acquired by eBay. Apple launches iTunes store in 2003 and credit card companies create PCI data security standards. Apple launches iPhone in 2007. Mageto mobile is released allowing store owners to create native mobile storefront apps. Due to the rapid improvement of technology in computer system, online shopping had been evoked in a high speed improving period. [4]

Virtual Store

What is Virtual Store

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This video introduce the Tesco Home plus Subway Virtual Store, The Sourth Korean agency Cheil Worldwide's virtual version of a Homeplus grocery store, which won the Grand Prix award at the Media Lions Competition in Cannes in 2011.

The first virtual store is launched by Tesco (Homeplus) in South Korea in 2009. This store is constructed based on the idea “let the store come to people”. [1]

Although virtual, the displays are exactly the same as the actual stores,which consists of photographic representations of products. Consumers can download an app on site (works on iPhone, Blackberry,Android and Windows Phone ), and use their smartphones to scan the QR Code on product and complete their electronic check out. The product will delivered to customers' home without additional charges.[2]


How to Shopping in Virtual Store

1) Download and open the application in your smartphone

2) Scan the QR Code of the product to add them to your shopping cart

3) Input your billing and shipping information

4) Receive the electronic receipt



The Technology Behind The Virtual Store

QR Code

QR Code

QR code is abbreviated from Quick Response Code.This two dimensional code is first designed for the automotive industry.In recent years, they become a focus of advertising strategy, since when people scan it, it provides quick access to the website.

QR codes are now used over a much wider range of applications, including commercial tracking, entertainment and transport ticketing, mobile coupon. [3] The Scanbuy's data shows that the usage of QR code has increased by 700 percent since January, 2010 with the number of scans in United States increasing from 1,000 to 15,000 a day to 35,000 to 40,000 a day. As more and more people notice the potential market value by using the QR code, businesses and marketers are racing to figure out how to use the codes to attract shoppers.[4]

According to one study which conducted on June, 2011, near 14 million mobile users scanned a QR Code or a bar code. 58% of those people scanned a QR or bar code from their home, while 39% of those people scanned a QR or bar code from retail stores. The gender distribution shows that 53% of the 14 million users were men between the ages of 18 and 34. [5]

The Code scanning also differentiate in types of stores.Some types of products are more suitable by scanning QR Code than another.For some small,light and cheap products, it is wasting time to scan it on the smartphone and waiting for the delivery. However, some products do benefit from the QR Code. For example, by scanning the code on a movie poster, and it may take you to the movie trailer. Scan a code at the Gap, and you are taken to a website about Gap jeans. According to the graphic shows below, the QR Code scanning is most popular in Electronic Stores, compared to 36% of people shopping in the department store, 31% of them shopping in Mass Merchandiser, grocery store (26%), office supply stores (20%),clothing stores (16%), and the convenience stores (8%). And there are only 5% people will shop in the furniture store and only 2% in a dollar store.[6]

File:QR_Code_Scanning_Across_Store_Types.jpg

Mobile Applications in Smartphone

The QR Code decoder is mobile applications.

This kind of application has been developed to use on any smartphone.[7]

Design of virtual store

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This video is about how Dise digital signage software features dynamic QR code and product pricing information to realize “shop anywhere "concept.

Virtual store combines technologies like QR codes with physical displays, to create more powerful hybrid shopping experiences.



QR Code Store Examples

[1]


Virtual Store Examples
Store
Year
Country Place Produts Concept Results

Related Video

Tesco(Homeplus) 2009 South Korea Subway Station Groceries Let the store come to the people Increase of 76% in customers
Increase in revenue of 130%
More than 65.000 registered users
Weekly revenue after 4 months $ 28.000
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Jetshop

March 12th-

March 18th

Sweden Stockholm Central Groceries Local merchants innovate sales channels Some products were far more suitable for QR Code sales than others
Impulse buying producs most successful (T-Shirts, books, DVD's and cosmetics)
Sharp price barrier of $200
Cosmetics and after-pay most successful
Toys"R"US

December

2011

US

Cross-Channel

Multi-media

Toy Holiday season brings toys to life 30,000+ scans in one month
40 transit stations used
Google Wallet integration
Cross-channel marketing and catalogs
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Well.ca

March

2012

Canada Subway Station Groceries Bringing the virtual store to you More than 100 app downloads in 3 hours
15% sold through mobile device More sold in 1 day than in 1 month
150 of 50,000 products I virtual store
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Aliqua

October

2011

Germany Subway Station Cosmetrics Expanding the natural cosmetics market Over 1000 scans in the first few days
Exact look and feel template
QR Codes lead directly to product pages
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Cold Storage December 7th- December 20th Singapore London Shopping Centre Christmas Products Hassle-free and convenient shopping Visa and All mastercards accepted
Products realistically aligned 20 Christmas food items
Ocado

August

2011

UK London Shopping Centre Groceries Presenting your online producs online Already opened a second QR Code Virtual
Store in Bristol high traffic mall in London Delivered by the time you get home
Uses fronts of empty shops in malls
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Opportunities with QR Code Virtual Store

Indoor and in-shop virtual store

  • Sell outsie opening hours (24/7)

One of the biggest disadvantages of offline stores is their limited opening times. When the majority of your customers return from work, your shop is closed for business and your customers only see store security panels with your shiny products behind them.

By presenting your products on the outside of the store panel, you can keep your shop open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week without extra cost and give your customers a continuous shopping experience.


  • Expand your product range

Virtual Stores can present a greater product range than they can fit inside their shop.By simply printing out a poster with additional products that are too large, too heavy or otherwise too bulky to present in the store, the consumer can have the greatest ease experiencing the product on their mobile device, with all the rich media like video, images and extensive information.

Outdoor and Out-of-Home marketing

  • Commercial facing in high-trafic areas

By selecting the outdoor advertisement which people can stop, scan and complete their order, virtual store stands out by approaching the large numbers of customer potential. Companies such as CBS Outdoor and JC Decaux can help merchants to distribute their QR Code shop campaign and reach their target group of customers.


  • Public transport and use of transit time

Many companies choose to and have already succesfully published their virtual store in subways, train stations, bus stops and metro stations. Public transport embodies many success factors:

    - A lot of people walk by the high traffic areas;

    - Transfer people's transit time and waiting time to valuable shopping time;

    - Working people, the valuable target group of audiences, can see the virtual store every day;

    - People can shopping at any time, since it opens for 24 hours;

    - Combine the popular usage of smartphone with the stopping, which can be easily accepted by customers.

These factors make public transport the number 1 potential to present your virtual shop, and results have proven to be extremely high in these areas


  • Moving, mobile and pop-up shops
    Example:

The campaign, launched in June 2012, encompasses pop-up stores in bus stops throughout Chicago and New York, while trucks and buses, branded with Walmart / Procter & Gamble products visit high traffic locations such as Big Apple Barbeque Block Party, Union Square Park and the Fashion District. By focussing on urban environments and literally briging the store to the consumer, Walmart and Procter & Gamble deliver instant convenience to the working public.

File:Walmart&P&G.jpg

On-Product QR Code mobile shops

The QR Code can be also placed on the products you sell. For example, customers can reordered the same products with simple scan and the rich media information will be on price tags to direct them to your shop again.


Example Re-ordering your products by scanning a QR Code

This option is specifically effective for products that can ‘run out’ or require frequent purchase, such as razor blades, cleaning goods, food products, contact lenses and batteries. By simply placing a QR Code to the product in your mobile webshop, when the customer needs to reorder the product, he or she can just scan the re-order QR Code and receive the refill the next day!

File:On_product_QR_code_mobile.jpg‎

Dynamic TV, web and broadcast virtual stores

Example TV programs (home shopping, tel-sell)

Many home shopping channels have already adopted the use of QR Codes in their programs. The reason is that they create an immediate interactive online shopping experience just by enabling the viewer at home to point their smartphone at the screen and instantly purchase the product, without having to call a hotline. To make the selling more effective, sellers can combing with the use of constant triggers and incentives( 22 items left, buy now!) to sell the products instantly.

File:TV_QR_code.jpg

[1]

Group Purchasing

What is Group Purchasing

Group Buying

Group purchasing, also known as collective buying, offers products and services at significantly reduced prices on the condition that a minimum number of buyers would make the purchase. Origins of group buying can be traced to China where team buying was executed to get discount prices from retailer when a large group of people were willing to buy the same item.[2]



Example: China

Overview

According to the 2011 Electronic Commerce Data Analysis Report, China’s online group-purchase market has expanded to more than 5000 companies with 52 million average users. Group-purchase in China is growing.

Consumer Demographics

Consumer Demographics

The age of group purchase users is distributed around the 20-29 years-old range. The report describes the profile of users who search for group purchase information on Baidu (Baidu is searching engine like Google in China )as those who are interested in American TV shows, Taiwan entertainment programs, cosmetics. Furthermore, group purchase is popular among consumers who have a stable income, favor quality in addition to bargain prices, and follow fashion trends. Based on this, we know that younger people is more easy to accept new shopping style.

Styles of Group Purchasing Website

Group purchase websites can be classified into three general categories: products, lifestyle, and comprehensive. The product section mainly offers commodity online shopping (clothing and packaged food) while the lifestyle section covers areas such as restaurant, entertainment, cosmetics, and travel. And last the comprehensive group is a mix of the two.[3]




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Groupon Revealed

America Group Purchasing

While the original strategy for group buying in China was self-organized and executed, most of the group buying in North America is done only through online intermediaries. Interested buyers are, most often, asked for credit card details, which will be charged only when a required number of buyers registers. Almost without an exception, intermediaries charge vendors a percentage fee in the range of up to 50% of the total value of the whole deal. Due to this business model, group buying remains limited to the physical services sector and is not seeing growth as with the original strategy in the People's Republic of China.[1]

How does it work ?

Based on the Groupon Revealed graph, both group purchasing websites use different ways to present group purchasing. On the left side, Groupon need enough people buy into the deal, and then you will receive a “groupon” that you then take to the local merchant. Whereas on the right side Woot is presenting a time limitation. Typically, there are only 24 hours to buy into the deal before a new one is posted. If you buy the deal in the 24 hours, you will receive the low price deal for the product.

Pros and Cons

Pros

1. Inexpensive deals — This is the most appealing feature of daily deal websites, most sites now offer inexpensive or free shipping, making that deal all the more sweeter.

2. Ability to profit – Entrepreneurial-minded individuals willing to invest in the advertised deals, can often resale the merchandise at a profit.

3. Social connectivity – Participating in group buy gives you the opportunity to extend your contact network with new friends who are keen on the same products or service and interact within the group. You get to share opinions and give recommendations on a product or service of interest on its sharing portal via Facebook or twitter.

4. You can make huge savings - Group buying can help you save money. Products and services available on group buying sites are discounted up to as much as 70% off its retail price. That is indeed a bargain!

5.Choose from a wide variety of products and services - Group buying websites offer an array of products such as exercise equipment to skin care and services such as dining, airport parking, grooming and dental services and accommodation. You can choose a product or service based on your current needs and interest.

6. Time saving - Buying in groups saves your time as you don’t have to trawl the internet for cheaper options and good offers since group buying companies and participating merchants ensure that the best offers are made available to their consumers.

Cons

1. Lack of customer service - On most daily deal sites customer service tends to be of little importance.

2. 50% or bust — For merchants there is a minimum deal amount in order to participate in the site; usually you must be willing to offer a service at least 50% off.

3. No refund – For most sites of group purchasing, there are no refunds or exchanges. If there is a problem with a product, the consumer must go through the manufacture rather than the merchant.

4.Bankruptcy risk doubles- Group buying requires two parties- the group buying site and the supplier (the retailer and/or service provider). If either goes under (which, in such an explosive industry, is bound to happen as function of a pure numbers game), the consumer may not redeem their voucher or have recourse against the group buying site (a double edged risk since the retailer/service provider may not have collected all their money from the group buying site).

5. Be careful of limitations of the vouchers- Many vouchers can only be used in set times (weekends only, nights only, lunch time etc.). The other practical problem is if the voucher is for a service provider, there are only so many hours in a day to book a spa, get your nails done etc. It may be difficult to get a convenient time. No one really wants to get your nails done at 8:00 am Monday.

6.Blatant consumer protection offenses- Group buying sites have already been cited for such deceptive sales and marketing practices as bait pricing (goods/services priced at low prices but offered in small quantities), non-supply of services and misleading size of discounts (in one example, a 60% off dinner offer failed to mention the discount was only valid if another diner paid full price).

Virtual 3D Online Shopping

What is 3D Online Shopping

3d shopping is the most effective way to shop online. 3d shopping allows users to shop collaboratively and interactively in an immersive virtual shopping environment through Internet. 3D online shopping utilizes 3-dimensional computer simulation technology to create retail contexts that are as close to the real shopping experience as possible, which offers customers a unique shopping experience in 3D world. This allows customers within the 3D virtual environment to interact with store merchandise and other customers as avatar inside the 3D shopping malls and make purchase decisions in a way that closely resembles real in-store behaviour. Additionally, virtual 3D online shopping technology can help consumer packaged goods companies and retailers make daily business decisions without the need for physically changing stores and products.

3D Internet 3D shopping
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[1]


Overview

Virtual-E-Shopping

3D online shopping has the ability to replicate the real shopping experience. 3D online shopping stores can have the same look and same feel of real world counterparts, right down to aisles, browsing and the ability to make purchases just as you would in a real store. With product placement and displays mimicking stores, customers familiar with the physical store quickly find what they want online as their eyes scan the merchandise.Customers unfamiliar with the physical store are now trained for their visit, and won’t feel lost when they walk through the door. Unlike flat Internet shops such as Amazon or E-Bay, 3D online shopping has the ability to meet new people, make a purchase together, communicate and just spend time with friends online just like real shopping experience. In addition, 3D online shopping allows customers to make a purchase in "real" store inside a virtual world without worrying for line up and loss of children.

[2]

Target Audience

1.Online Shoppers - 3D online shopping may take over the customers from E-Bay or Amazon.

2.Busy People - people working long hours from morning to night or night shift people. No time to shop in shop working hours.

3.Young Teenagers - because teens are far more expert at Internet than Adults in most cases.

4.People who do not like crowd - the people who do not like crowd would probably enjoy 3D online shopping.

5.Lazy people - the products are either too heavy to carry or too lazy to carry.


Focus Product

1.Products - All the products you can see from regular shopping centres such as cloths, shoes, toys…etc

2.Shopping Malls - In 3D shopping Malls, you can find all the famous stores you can see from real shopping centres and some stores that you had never thought existed in real life.


Advantage

1.New shopping experience – 3D shopping is the combination of 3D gaming and online Internet shopping. It creates a unique shopping experience for users.

2.Price Comparison – 3D online shopping has the ability to compare prices from hundreds of different vendors and it has 24 hours shopping supports.

3.Incredible Convenience - online shoppers can choose any time of the day or night to get on the Web and shop.

4.Interaction – Users are able to ask friends’ opinions through 3D shopping. Users are able to interact with other users online


Disadvantage

1.Fraudulent activities, Security and Privacy - Privacy and security are always a concern for online shopper, but there are precautions you can take to make sure your transaction is a safe one such as paying attention to HTTP protocol.

2.Computer and Internet Requirement - 3D online shopping requires a large graphic memory and computer processing. The client or app sometimes may crush due to connection lag or error during purchase.

3.Different preference and taste - People have different preference and taste in shopping experience. Some people would like to see, touch, or smell the real products themselves.

4.Trust and quality - Some people wouldn’t trust on the 3d modeling photos and would like to check on the product quality in real world

5.Slows down shopping efficiency - Online shopping suppose to be fast and easy. Ebay and Amazon sites are all designed for easy to use and fast to search. 3d shopping slows down shopping efficiency due to adding gaming elements, because you will have to ask NPC to know where the products are and taking time to walk there.



Virtual-E-Shopping

Virtual-E-Shopping is the first 3D virtual shopping world for real shoppers.[3]

The idea of Virtual-E-Shopping was created when the creator began to imagine a new interface for the site and envisioned a virtual mainstreet where the couple could see a schoolhouse, click on it and enter their child education decisions, click a car or boat to divide those, etc after the creator created an online divorce website, OurDivorceAgreement.com. Then he/she realized that the idea had a huge potential possibility as a 3D virtual shopping site.

The site is launched in 2009.

File:virtuale.jpg

How it works

[4] Virtual-E-Shopping can be beneficial to customers/users, owner of 3d shopping malls, and the developer of virtual-e-shopping- site.

Customer side

Virtual-E-Shopping client is free to download. The user can create your own 3d avatar persona. You can chat with friends and meet new people in the mall. You can shop in those well-known stores and some stores you never thought existed in the virtual 3d world by walking into stores, picking things up, purchasing items through the store's shopping cart system, talking to sales clerks about products price. You can also get coupons and join special events.

Shop Owner side

Shop owner can create a 3D shopping mall and promote it through social media, blog, email newsletter, and pay-per-click advertising. They can also schedule special events to drive traffic to their malls. The shop owner can get $0.10 per click from virtual-e-shopping and monthly basis click revenue generated by the 3D shopping mall. In addition, when the shop owner registered, there is a $50.00 deposit made towards their clicks and the more clicks generated by the shop owner, the closer the 3D store will appear to the central atrium of the mall.

Future Goal

At the beginning launch of Virtual-E-Shoping, only the mall itself is in 3D. But site owners are reaching out to national and local advertisers to entice them to create 3D stores behind the storefronts and are building a larger 3D prototype store for shop owners in the future. Virtual-E-Shopping owners hope that young people 18-25 will like meeting their friends or new friends in the 3D mall than interacting on Facebook, MYspace, or real stores in the near future.



Augmented Reality

[5]

Augmented Reality online shopping is another type of 3D online shopping.

What is Augmented Reality Shopping

Augmented Reality online shopping allows online shoppers to use a webcam to visualize virtual products with QR code or on themselves while shopping online. Augmented Reality uses a motion capture system that allows users to use hand motions to navigate the products while standing back from their computer. In this way, shoppers can get to see how it could look in real life. However, augmented reality online shopping could make online shopping more entertaining, but it won’t be able to solve many of real e-commerce challenges for now.[6]

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What's different than 3D online shopping

1.Better representation of real 3d product size - It is impossible to know the real 3D product size through avatar in 3D Internet shopping, but it is possible to know the real 3D product size and colour through augmented reality online shopping.

File:Example.jpg [1]

2.Business Model - Unlike 3D Internet online shopping, augmented Reality online shopping has the potential to be implemented in cloth retail stores, where customers can try on the cloths and listen to suggestions from sales through augmented reality at the same time.

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Future Trend

There is a high possibility that online shopping will be the future of retails by 2020. [1]

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Risk in Online shopping

Credit card fraud, identity theft

The two biggest concerns on the forefront of everyone's mind when it comes to online transactions are identity theft and credit fraud. These two acts are not the same crime, though they're often lumped together as one. Identity theft is much more far-reaching than credit card fraud. When a criminal steals your identity, you'll suffer more than fraudulent charges on your credit cards. Identity thieves to commit crimes, and even use your identity to establish a new life. Credit card fraud, on the other hand, is limited to charges on stolen credit or debit card numbers. A criminal gains access to your account number and then uses it to purchase products online or in person until there are either no more funds in your bank account, or the credit card is maxed out. As a result, this risk becomes a major concern for online shopping. [1]

Reputation and creditability issue

A company with good reputation indicated that long-term relationship building. Customers do research before they shop online. As many online stores are available, how to gain good reputation for venders is essential. This makes some venders pay people to provide good feedback in order to keep good social reputation. In China, there even exists so-called "writers" who get paid of 50RMB for deleting bad comments. Trust is also an issue since customers also listen to their friends' advice and information found on the internet is sometimes irrelevant or false.

Return Issue

When you are unsatisfied with the things you buy online, return is always a concern. Some online stores are non-refundable. Even if it is refundable in certain days, delivering make it harder. It may take few days for buyers to return goods to the vender and take another few days to get replaced products. Not many customers can wait such period. Buyers may require providing delivering fees themselves which cost them more to buy in retailers.

Face-to-Face Shopping Experience

People shop online maybe due to the convince, easy, fast or cheaper way that online shopping offers. Some customers just like shopping in person. They like feeling, touching, or seeing the things they will buy. It is impossible for them to buy something without trying it on. This may limit the size of online shopping. Some people shopping in person is not only because of physical needs for clothes or food but also an experience of social interaction. People need to talk to others and shares ideas, thoughts, emotions and behaviors. This may be another factor which influences the size of online shopping.

Time value issue

Online shopping always takes days or weeks for deliver. Price may change within these delivering days. People may cost more or less if they buy in retail stores. Time concerns in online shopping become intense. Also, products may get damages during delivering period due to the traffic or other factors. This factor also limits the size of online shopping.

Practical example

File:pii.jpg

In a major effort to protect customers' interests, China has pledged to regulate online group buying, a thriving market with increasing illegal trading activities in recent years. As from the graph, China's online retail market has overcome a big growth from 52 billion yuan in 2007 to 801 billion yuan in 2011. This is tremendous increase for online shopping in China. As the group-buying market thrives in China, the number of group-buying websites hit 3,909 in December, up from 2,630 in January last year, the institute's statistics showed. However, the institute in China collected about 100,000 complaints related to e-commerce via its online platform last year, 25 percent of which involved online group buying due to lack of strict regulations and supervision of such service providers. As the rapid increase size of online shopping, the risk associated with online shopping also increases. Approximately 18% of total 2011 China online purchases complained about the late delivery problem; 12% worries about the refund problem and 9% worries about the online purchase fraud. How to safely shopping online has become a major concern for not only consumers but also service providers and governments. [2]

Strategies applied to reduce risk & uncertainty in Online Shopping

New security system for Credit payments

As credit security has become a major concern for most online shopping consumers, many strategies have been adopted to reduce such risk. For example, all personal credit cards in Canada offer additional layers of security for consumer's protection. For example, Zero Cardholder Liability is the credit card company's promise that customers will not be responsible for charges to their card, as a result of fraudulent or unauthorized use, provided they take reasonable precautions to protect their PIN and their card, as set out in their RBC Royal Bank Credit Card Agreement.

Additionally, the credit card companies have features designed specifically to protect customers when shopping online. By registering a password for their Visa or MasterCard and shopping at Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode enabled merchants, only customers themselves can use their card for online purchases. It's easy, secure, and it's free. [3]

Visa’s Zero Liability policy gives customers 100 percent protection against card theft, loss, or unauthorized use. People won’t have to cover any fraudulent charges made using their Visa card. And they can get even more protection by activating Verified by Visa, which confirms their identity with an extra personal password when they shop at participating online merchants. The Visa Security Program contains additional details about the multiple ways Visa keeps their card information safe and secure by preventing, detecting and resolving fraud. [4]

Identity protection by SafeCentral™

SafeCentral is the leading provider of endpoint critical data loss prevention solutions. Whether users are banking online, remotely accessing their company resources through VDI or VPNs or using cloud-based services for accounting, CRM or others, endpoints need the protection that only SafeCentral provides.

SafeCentral™ is the secure companion to everyday web browsing, providing end-to-end security against identity theft by locking out desktop malware and establishing trusted web connections. SafeCentral™ is a one-time install and light-weight application. Operating under the assumption that people's computer is already infected with malware, SafeCentral™ interprets and intercepts over 5,000 discrete Windows commands (from write to disk, to save in RAM and beyond) and effectively blocks all potentially dangerous activities except those processes needed for the transaction. Unlike other tools, SafeCentral™ goes down deep into the DNA of the Windows operating system and is able to control all processes during a secured transaction. [5]

Free return policy adapted

Many shopping websites have a 100% no questions return policy with shipping covered or individual websites with no regard for which the product is used or not such as Sephora.com, Zappos, Nordstrom's stores and etc. And more and more online shopping stores cope with the idea of "100% return", this reduces the high viability of concern with return policy. However, whether this step succeeded or not is still questionable.

Future of Online Shopping

Online shopping has only developed for less than 25 years. However, the research firm Forrester estimates that e-commerce is now approaching $200 billion in revenue in the United States alone and accounts for 9% of total retail sales, up from 5% five years ago. The corresponding figure is about 10% in the United Kingdom, 3% in Asia-Pacific, and 2% in Latin America. Globally, digital retailing is probably headed toward 15% to 20% of total sales, though the proportion will vary significantly by sector. Moreover, much digital retailing is now highly profitable. Amazon’s five-year average return on investment, for example, is 17%, whereas traditional discount and department stores average 6.5%. This is just the beginning of online shopping even the economic reality is well established. Zoom application, 360-degree environment, 3D modelling and so many other technique will be applied in online shopping. Even though some of this application is not perfectly developed and they will have a long road to go, they have started to change the way of people's living. [6]

References

  1. http://www.glambrowser.com/risks-of-online-shopping.html
  2. http://www.china.org.cn/business/2012-03/16/content_24915227.htm
  3. https://www.rbcadvicecentre.com/shop-securely-online-with-your-credit-card
  4. http://usa.visa.com/personal/security/learn-the-facts/online-shopping.html
  5. http://www.safecentral.com/about-us.html
  6. http://hbr.org/2011/12/the-future-of-shopping/
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