|Factor||Impact on Internet shopping|
|In-home shopping experience||+|
|Activity of Internet use||+|
|Risk due to inability to inspect the product, payment method and slowness of buying||-|
In conclusion, Internet shopping is very much similar to conventional non-store shopping. It is just a new method of non-store shopping. Furthermore, there is a network of factors explaining Internet shopping which I have included below. This network is rather complicated to include all factors presented, but it is a useful representation nonetheless.
The Internet is a constantly evolving network, and information about it becomes obsolete fast. Moreover, a lot of questions have not been answered yet. Various studies by the Yankelovich Partners in 1996 reveal some of these unanswered questions to ponder about for the future.
Are they going to shop again?
Are Internet shoppers happy with their experiences with the shopping method? Are they going to use it again? Do they prefer it to other shopping methods? In which ways?
How about inexperienced users?
The respondents of this survey were experienced computer and Internet users. How do inexperienced users think about Internet shopping? What about people who don't shop at home, is there any chance they could become Internet shoppers?
What is the Internet shopper really like?
Do Internet shoppers belong to a higher-than-average socio-economic class as the literature implies in-home shoppers do? How are they different from non-shoppers demographically? Psychographically? What kind of conveniece do they see with this new shopping method? What are the worst risks?
What is the effect of time pressure?
There are two kinds of time pressure: pressure specific to the Internet, and other time pressure (not examined in this study). What causes time pressure? Is it the computer, is it the cost of connection, is it the time that is "wasted" on-line? According to the survey, users do feel somewhat pressured. Is the impact of time pressure negative - no time to buy even if wanted? According to this WWW survey, the impact may be, however, slightly positive.
What is the effect of new technology?
New applications will almost inevitably emerge. What is the next big step after the WWW? Internet television? Virtual reality?
Will the Internet become obsolete with the introduction of a new solution?
The Internet provides means to distribute marketing information in ways similar to conventional direct marketing, like catalogs and targeted direct mail. The Internet has other appealing properties too. It is cheap, and it helps personal communication between the seller and the buyer. It is useful for distributing digital products, and it can shorten the time between purchase decision and delivery. It also gives the customer certain extra benefits, like the ability to compare and discuss products.
The average Internet user is quite similar to the average in-home shopper, at least what comes to socio-economic group: both are well educated, have a high income and occupational position. Moreover, the average Internet user is a male aged 20-40 years, which is a very active group at in-home shopping.
In-home shopping has a number of benefits to the customer: it is convenient, it offers product assortment and uniqueness, a geographically larger shopping area, and often a better price too. All these benefits apply also to Internet shopping. The major disadvantage of in-home shopping, namely risk - due to inability to see the product and make comparisons, and to delivery delays - applies to Internet shopping too.
In an empirical WWW survey, the following factors were found to increase the likelihood to shop on the Internet: previous activity in in-home shopping, computer or Internet related work, Internet experience, active Internet use, and product uniqueness. Risk due to inability to inspect the product, payment method and slowness of buying were found to decrease the likelihood to shop. Thus, the conclusion of this presentation is that Internet shopping is a new method of non-store shopping that will explode in the next few years due to the number of active consumers.