Online shopping is a current phenomenon regarding electronic business and hence results to the growing future for shopping. At present, many companies are operating online portals which are used to sell their products and services ( Mohamed, et al.,2014). Online shopping is one area that depicts the growth of technology. The establishment of a retail store on the internet allows more shoppers to get access to their wants. Consequently, those who are not able to reach the physical shops can conduct their purchases. The greatest attraction of many shoppers is the convenience that characterizes online shopping. Customers, through online shopping, can view the products they desire, make payments and the get the goods delivered to them while at their comfort of their houses. Online shopping has experienced an immense growth and more than ever, customers can make round the clock purchases (Akroush, and Al-Debei, 2015). This ensures that customers decrease overhead costs such as travel expenses and also the cost of time. Online shopping has attracted a phenomenon where customers have platforms which they can give their experiences on their shopping adventures. This process of relaying shopping experiences is termed as customer reviews. A customer can give a good review or a bad review regarding a product or a company thus shaping the purchasing behavior of potential customers. Online shopping comes with a lot of benefits such as convenience, some drawbacks in online shopping are also inevitable. For instance, customers need to cater for shipping rates, especially those who come from far. This paper focuses on the issue of online shopping, specifically tackles the question whether online shopping is a worthwhile endeavor.
A company that wishes to engage in online shopping can establish an online store by creating a website and publish their products. The online stores usually consist with an organized website divided into various departments according to the type of product, the payment process and also the customer care departments. A consumer can view the product in pictures where one can view details of the products including the size, price, and also description of how a product works. When a consumer makes a choice of a product, a consumer is the mandated to make payments and state their residence so that their purchased products can be delivered. Most of the online shopping sites have a segment where a customer can rate a product and write an own review about a products experience. Customer review is currently the common feature that assists many customers to make their purchasing decisions (Lin, and Lekhawipat, 2014. A customer review is a remark which may be accompanied by statements and also a video where a customer gave an opinion about a product or compared it with other products to help other customers make an informed decision. The rating review have categories where a customer can rate a satisfaction level. Church, and Iyer, (2017), suggests that while giving a product review, a customer can make a judgment regarding the customer service experience, product quality, durability, and cost. Product requires as an immense effect on the performance of a company where good reviews encourage more customers to make purchases from a company. On the other hand, bad reviews discourage customers from making purchases from a company. Due to his reason, companies are starting to be managing their customer review by presenting only positive remarks about their products.
More than ever before more people are using the internet to shop for a variety of items. This is because of the wide range of advantages that come as result of online shopping such as convenience (Kumar, 2013). In comparison with traditional forms of shopping which have fixed hour of openings, online shopping provides a shopping experience which is round the clock. According to Bourlakis, Papagiannidis, and Fox (2008) Shoppers have the opportunity to choose their time and place to make online purchases. This is essential to people who have busy schedules or babies at home and cannot have the time to arrange for travels for shopping. Online shopping has provided a consumer with the opportunity to make price comparisons. Shoppers can visit different shopping sites and check the prices and select which price can suit one best. For traditional shopping, consumers should stick to prices provided for products of a store. Moreover, may online stores offer extremely large discounts so as to maintain customers (Ruswanti, 2016). Online shopping provides a consumer with the infinite shopping experience. This is because online shopping offers a variety of products where if one product fails to exist in one shopping site, a consumer can move to other shopping sites to check whether the desired products exists. But for shelf space block and mortar stores, once a product is not available, a consumer has no choice but to purchase a substitute. There are no pressure sales in online shopping, a traditional form of shopping is characterized by sales people who coerce consumers to buy products which one does not desire. Online shopping ensures that consumers purchase what suits them without any disturbance.
Just as there are advantages in online shopping, there are some disadvantages as well. Case in point, one cannot try merchandise on. When one buys a clothing item, one will need to try it on and see whether it is worth to be purchased and also whether it fits (Al-Debei, Akroush, and Ashouri, 2015). Unless one knows one’s measurement, one cannot be able to purchase online merchandise successfully. Most online stores offer the grace period to return products which are not up to the standards of a consumer thus resulting in wasting of time and resources while travelling to the store. Also, most consumers have reiterated that returning merchandise is not easy. As per Ling Jiang, Yang, and Jun, (2013), one cannot talk to someone immediately in online shopping as one has to wait for around twenty-four hours for a customer care to respond. According to Vojvodic, and Matic, (2014) Privacy and security have proven to be a concern in online shopping where there is fear of hacking in the payment system of customers.
With this current era of technology, online shopping is inevitable, because people are encouraged to perform shopping at their convenience (Lee, H.J. 2016). To shop online, one must be conversant with the use of digital technologies such as the internet and also computers. As much as the internet stores target a certain age group who are commonly known as the net generation, it is also a shopping experience allowed for all. The net generation is the type of individuals who were born and bread surrounded by digital technology. Most of the generation which was not born during the era of technology, have learned their use and can be able to do their shopping online as well. Because of this ability for people to know how to use digital devices together with the internet, online shopping has a great future ahead. Also, the rise of online payment systems such as PayPal, Skrill, and many others, enable consumers to sell and make payments to each other thus streamlining online shopping experience.
According to Bigné-Alcañiz, et al., (2008), the current generation of consumers are calling most of their services providers and the manufacturers to make their experience as easy as possible. Most consumers believe that when shopping experience is integrated with their daily digital technologies such cell phone and computers, they will shop more. With this realization companies now believe that by having both physical and online stores, they can appeal to all type of their customers. Also, online marketers believe that online stores should depict ease of use, usefulness and also enjoyment so as to become successful.
Companies use the technology acceptance model which uses a myriad of variables to understand the effects of online shopping. As pointed out by Cheema et al., (2017), the variables presented by technological acceptance include perceived enjoyment, perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use. Perceived usefulness as one of the variables, focuses on the belief that the products presented in the online shopping sites will have the ability to cater for the intended wants of the customers. Perceived usefulness is the considered as the utilitarian factor as far as online shopping is concerned. Utilitarian in the sense that the product can be useful to realize customers’ needs. Online shopping usually takes place on companies’ website. When companies present their websites as useful, is the same way the customers will see their products useful. It is an open secret that customers prefer to acquire products whose possession will prove to be useful. For this reason, products which are presented in most shopping sites depict a characteristic of how important it would be to a customer.
The second variable used in online shopping by online marketers is the perceived ease of use. The first way of promoting this type of variable is making a customer see how easy it is to maneuver an online shopping website. Online shopping sites that are easy to use affect the perception of a consumer on how their products are also easy to use. Consequently, a complicated website which proves to be difficult to peruse through the pages and the complexity of their payment system, is likely to scare away most of the potential customers. It has been established that perceived ease of use influences the intention of customers in purchasing a product. However, as the technology advances, the website technologies also advances making websites to be more complex. Therefore, most companies ensure that they make their websites to be convenient and easy to use of as to increase their customers' base.
Perceived enjoyment is the last variable used by marketers regarding online shopping. Marketers perceive that the fact that there is existence if online shopping, a customer will have the element of fun as one conducts one’s shopping. Enjoyment is a fundamental reaction that affects a customer intention to make purchases on a certain site. For this reason, online shopping procreators have the assignment to ensure that they do not develop a website that is not only easy to use but also one which is aesthetically pleasing (Rose, Clark, Samouel, and Hair, 2012). As compared with traditional shopping, online shopping has a look and feel which is enjoyable. Online shopping sites have extremely pleasing pictures of the products which are being sold.
In conclusion, there is nothing quite convenient as ordering and making payment online and waiting for a product to be delivered such as in online shopping. It is clear that there are many advantages which outweigh the disadvantages of online shopping. In this regard, online shopping has a great future where more companies are shifting their form of sales to be online. Customer reviews are one important element to any customer as there is no better way of knowing more about a product than from a fellow consumer. Good review of a product from consumers encourage potential consumers to make the same choice of products. Consequently, marketers use a variables such as ease of use, enjoyment and also usefulness to ensure that the sites where the products are being present on, is in tandem with the expectation of consumers thus encourage them to make more purchases. As technology advances, new technology is set to transform the online shopping experience.
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