The rapid growth of the availability to shop on the Internet is a success story in itself; one that has pushed the UK Internet market to now be worth over £21 billion. Many of us are turning to shopping on the Internet due to its convenience and the increase of choice in products and services that are being offered.
The Internet shopping market in the UK is currently used by over 20 million of us with over a third of this 20 million spending more than £1,000; bringing huge benefits to both customers and businesses.
The Internet has a lot more choice when it comes to the products and services that are on offer. It allows people to shop in places that otherwise they would never get to. It opens the shopping market up and then rips it wide open allowing people to not only purchase goods from anywhere in the UK without even leaving the house; it brings the shopping market of the entire world right to your doorstep meaning you have the opportunity to find some great deals, with an average of between £150 million and £240 million being saved by residents in the UK every year. This is provided that customers use the Internet to its full advantage and shop around for the best deals. If you merely buy from the first website that you visit then the chance of you picking up a bargain is limited. Customers need to use search engines and price comparison sites to their full advantage. They can help you as a customer to make informed choices and save money.
The main barrier that has been found through various studies of Internet shopping is people not having enough trust within the Internet market. Confidence and trust are highly important to the success of this; however due to ‘scare’ stories that people have heard in the media and from word of mouth, many people are avoiding using the Internet as a way of shopping.
More trust needs to be restored in Internet shopping in order for it to continue its success. More needs to be done to protect shoppers and cancellation rights as well as return procedures need to be made more clear and available to customers as many do not even realise that in most cases they have the right to cancel their order.
On many sites the cancellation rights and returns procedures are not always explained in a clear manner and research has shown that even some traders do not clearly understand the legal aspects of how cancellations and returns should be handled.
When it comes to protecting yourself whilst it should be made aware to you that traders can sell from any location in the UK as well as abroad and they can quickly set up or close down their operations due to the rapid pace of technological change, meaning that you should only trade with a business website that is established and preferable you have heard of before.
Internet shopping is however extremely safe and most of us have already experienced the ease and convenience that comes with it.