In recent years, the number of consumers shopping online has steadily increased. Online shopping is one area that has not been negatively impacted by the troubled economy. When online shopping first emerged, it catered mostly to wealthier consumers. At that time, computers were seen as more of a luxury. As the prices of computers have decreased, more middle and lower income people purchased computers. Now, almost every home has a computer and access to the internet. If they don’t, there is no shortage of public access computers.
In 1990 Tim Berners-Lee created the first World Wide Web server and browser. In 1992, Charles Stack created the first online book store, Book Stacks Unlimited. In 1994, online banking and the opening of an online pizza shop by Pizza Hut took place. As well, Netscape introduced SSL encryption of data transferred online which has become essential for secure online shopping. In 1995, Amazon expanded its online shopping, and in 1996, eBay emerged on the web.
Shopping has evolved along with the growth of technology. As more people become skilled at using the computer and its technology, the more likely they are to use it for all sorts of functions. As well, the increase in effective security technology and education tips for consumers on how to shop safely online has resulted in more consumers making online purchases. Online shopping retailers have expanded their marketing practices to target both men and women. For instance, in the early years of the Internet in the USA, there were very few women online, but by 2001 women were made up a little of over half of the online population. Due to the convenience and quickness of online shipping, men are now making many purchases online.
Consumers now have favorite websites they shop at so online shopping has become a normal part of their routine. If they need to search for product, search engines can effectively bring up the link to the searched product. They are now online malls, manufacturer websites, and specialty sites catering to any type of product. As well, the evolution of easy to use transaction methods with a simple check out process using credit cards, debit cards, and online accounts such as PayPal have made it easy to shop.
It has not just been online security that has been improved. The availability of so many different products online, improvements in shipping services, the use of customer loyalty programs such as reward cards, discounts, and coupons, have made shopping for deals much easier. As well, the convenience of shopping online has resulted in an increase in online shoppers. Over the years, consumers have become busier with a lot more stress in their daily lives. Online shopping allows people the ability to shop 24 hours a day/ 365 days a year. As well, they have access to online shopping from home and at work.
Advancements in technology have made significant changes in online shopping which has made it a much more appealing method of shopping. For example, consumers have access to ‘shopbots’ which are search robots that help online customers find low priced products. They also allow consumers to comparison shop by searching a number of online stores according to the keywords that they type.
With new technology emerging and more products available at great prices, online shopping is not showing any signs of slowing down.