The Advantages and Risks of Online Shopping

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The Information revolution is changing our daily lives. With the rapid development of computer and internet, online commerce become quite common and plays an important role in the modern world. The online business has booming development in these few years. US online retail sales raised an average of 11% in the first three months of 2009 (“US Online Sales Up,” 2009). The growth of online sales may due to the growing number of consumers who shop online. In the case of Asia, survey reported 77.6% of Internet users have online shopping experiences in 2003 (as cited in To, Liao & Lin, 2007). Online shopping is very different from traditional shopping. Consumers cannot touch and check the product before purchasing it, which means they are at higher risk of fraud than traditional shopping. Consumers also have other concerns such as credit cards security of online shopping. Then questions should be raised: what is the advantage of online shopping? Why people shop online? In following paragraphs, the advantage of online shopping for the consumer and consumer’s motivation to shop online will be reviewed and discussed. The main advantage of online shopping is convenient. Online shops open 24/7. People who live in remote areas do not need to speed long time on the traveling to the stores. Consumers who come from other cities/countries can easily buy the native and specialty goods by just a click instead of going to that cities/countries themselves. The relevant information of products can be received from any location in seconds. Study showed that 72% of online shoppers preferred surf online than go to retail store to attain information about a product (Lokken et al., 2003). Online shopping also has greater price information (as cited... ... middle of paper ... ... shopping (Monsuwe et al., 2004). Rather than the completion of shopping task, online shopping itself is fun and playful. With this advantage, consumers find “enjoyment” in online shopping. If consumers enjoy the online shopping experience, they are more likely to shop online. Study suggested that online shopping enjoyment can generates search intention, which in turn generates purchase intention (To et al., 2007). Consumers’ motivations for online shopping are dual characterization. Research claimed that utilitarian motivation can influence consumers’ intention to search and to purchase, while hedonic motivation has a direct impact on intention to search and indirect impact on intention to purchase (To et al., 2007). Online shopping has many advantages which can fit consumers’ needs and motivation. It might be one reason of the rapid growth of online shopping.
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