This greater flexibility was noted in the literature as early as 1997 (Alba et al) when internet sales, sill in their infancy, aounted to less than half of all retail sales in the country. According to Ruthkowski (2000, cted in Changchit et al, 2005), i response to growing trends in consumer behavior that continue to turn to the internet as a source of not only information, bt shopping venues, te number of available hosts on the internet, dnoting the range of shopping venues, hs risen from 1. 7million in to more than 110 million in 2001.
This ease and variety of options has created a world in which the needs and desires of the consumer have taken on a new importance to retailers desiring to succeed. Oficially, te definition of online shopping indicates it is a computer activity in which consumers are able to connect through their computers with retailers’ digital storefronts by means of a network (Haubl & Trifts, 2000). In a study cited by James McGuire (2005), i was determined that internet sales continue to grow, $65 billion in 2004 which represented an increase of 26 percent over 2003.
However, tere have been several stumbling blocks in helping the industry to grow in popularity among consumers. Many potential customers do not complete the checkout process, prhaps because they do not have the tactile experiences – being able to touch and feel the product – or perhaps because of other concerns related specifically to the online experience (Han & Noh, 2000). The most successful sites, sch as eBay offering online auctions or Amazon offering traditional shopping type interfaces, sare several key components identified by an independent study as being the most important to potential online customers (Wolfinbarger & Gilly, 2001).
These components tend to support the goal-oriented shopping habits of online shoppers by providing incentives that appeal to this type of shopper, sch as the money-saving qualities of free shipping, n taxes and discounts on products while providing pictures of the products to be sure they are getting what they want at a glance backed up by an easy means of returning unsatisfactory products (Changchit al, 2005).
Sears, wth its long-held reputation of catalog shopping in the US, hs also made a successful transition to the internet, esuring its site remains attractive to visitors, icluding plenty of photographs of the products offered and...
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