Younger and wealthier shoppers are driving a wave of online sales. Many of these people – having some web familiarity and disposable income – have learned to shop online for price comparisons and other comparative data. If shoppers find a superior situation, especially regarding the above 4 crucial variables they will usually become online buyers.
Online buyers establish shopping habits. They abandon bricks and mortar stores and malls as value, dependability, security and convenience of online buying improves.
Although the online buyer cannot return an item as quickly in some situations as the buyer who can walk in and out of a Wal-Mart or Sears when the parking lot isn’t crowded or there is no line at the returns
desk, there are many other reasons to buy online.
Sellers of low-mass products – small books, DVDs, lightweight clothing have a marked edge in sales because shipping is relatively low in cost. The seller of these items doesn’t need to pay the overhead of a store, staff, parking lot, utilities, etc. They pay only storage and shipping which is becoming increasingly automated.
Although people are rightfully afraid of bankcard fraud, I believe all card services will continue to improve security and improve buyer dispute processes.
Fraudulent emails sent to credit card holders (and all business accounts for that matter) will continue to be a big problem. As both merchants and shoppers become aware of these fraudulent practices it will be more difficult to exploit people with business accounts at PayPal or Amazon.
There is a probability, partly because of the price of fuel, that delivery services will consolidate to some extent in the future so that you will receive one or two regular deliveries per day of all goods you have purchased – including groceries – along with mail and newspaper, etc.
Each person may also have a receiving station service in the future whereby the shopper picks up everything from one large, secured lockbox. If a delivery is very large or has accumulated over days, a key would be left with directions to a nearby, larger overflow box. Security, insurance, and energy costs would all be cut by these changes.
Grocers have experimented with many forms of advertising, delivery, billing and credit. All of these ideas are improved with online transactions. Shopping from several grocery chains will be easier when you get free delivery and easy to find price comparisons. You will even be able to subscribe to discount announcements of various products.
Online education – especially college level offerings – has been slow to respond to the potential sale of services by internet. Online degrees will become more common, less expensive, and more legitimized with standardized and secured testing procedures of students. The knowledge areas in the cognitive domain can be done completely by internet. Educational offerings in the behavioral and affective domains will be greatly augmented by online offerings and testing as well.
Larger purchases will also be more prevalent on the internet, especially for mass produced items like automobiles. You can test-drive several models locally, then cruise websites regionally for price, color, accessories, delivery costs, taxes or other charges. This is already being done, but with advances in registration and licensing as well as online financing and insurance – you may spend 25 minutes on a website and be legally driving your new car in the time it takes to meet the delivery-person curbside.