It is now a commonly accepted process for a vast majority of consumers to buy products online and over the last twenty years this trend has risen considerably. e-commerce went from being an essentially non-existent business model to be coming a force that threatened to revolutionize and take over the market as we know it. e-commerce hasn’t just experienced exponential growth, it has also evolved and transformed over time to meet the ever-changing requirements of the modern consumer. There are complex processes of customization for consumers now made simple through the use of continuously innovating software, with the option to even design products from scratch available.
As far as milestones for e-commerce are concerned, the first instance of online shopping is credited to Michael Aldrich, who invented it in 1979 by connecting a modified domestic TV to a real-time transaction processing computer via a domestic telephone line. After a flurry of developments, the next major advancements came in 1994 when Netscape released the Navigator browser and Pizza hut offered online on its webpage; the first bank online also opened in 1994. In 1998 PayPal came into existence and in 2002 eBay acquired PayPal for $1.5 billion and changed the scope of online shopping forever. In 2003, after 8 years of existence, Amazon posted in first yearly profit and finally, in 2012, US E-commerce went through projections of reaching up to $226 billion (an increase of 12% over 2011).
There are of course worries and concerns with the development and increasing prominence of e-commerce. Users may fret over online identity theft and credit card fraud, also not being able to physically see or feel the product before the purchase is a major worry of most consumers. Other major concerns of customers consist of the hassle of returning unwanted goods and high shipping costs associated with online purchases. Organizations have undertaken certain actions to address these concerns however to encourage greater acceptance of e-commerce.
eBay responded to the fear of buying from strangers by ensuring the backing and protection of its customers. Customers are now certain that when they buy products from eBay and the product doesn’t arrive as promised that eBay has their back and will ensure that they are treated fairly. Another major worry about the careful handling of private information has been addressed by PayPal, who protect consumers by offering refunds and secure servers to keep information safe. As far as shipping is concerned, like PayPal, Amazon offers free shipping depending on the product and if you exceed a certain purchase limit and this has helped lead the industry in making free shipping a mainstay of online shopping.
E-commerce has become a more and more accepted means of purchasing for people all over the world and it’s important that companies are aware of the common worries that consumers have with online purchasing. Understanding these worries will put companies in a good strategic position to take advantage of the massive market potential.