Why Use an Online Shopping Mall
Why Use an Online Shopping Mall?
Everyone should know that men literally hate two things in this world…..Painting and shopping in retail stores. Yes, this article is being written by, you guessed it, a GUY! I loath shopping in retail stores, especially when I have to drive to the mall, find a decent parking place, hunt down the product that I want to buy, if I can find it, and finally wait in line to check out. Why spend the money for gas, put up with traffic, fight crowds, and a never ending checkout line? OK, that said, now what?
From the perspective of a “guy”, the greatest invention of the century is the internet which provides the ability to do ONLINE SHOPPING. This is my kind of shopping! It is the saving grace for me because I always forget the “important dates” until it is almost too late. When shopping online I can take my time from the comfort of my home, compare products and prices, and, DO NOT have to put up with sales clerks who wish they were somewhere else “hanging out”. This internet shopping capability, along with overnight delivery, has really saved my character (and marriage) many times……..
However, I do get somewhat frustrated each time I “Google” for a specific type of product offered by a single merchant store. In the past I typically spend hours before finding what I need. The problem is that I typically get thousands of responses when searching and all I can do is shake my head! ARG!@#$%^&*!
The problem that most people have, and I fall in this category, is that you have to sift through tons of ads when they search the internet. There does not seem to be a site that simply focuses on presenting only the merchants that carry the specific products or services that I need. It finally hit me, why search for just one merchant store? There has to be a web site that focuses on presenting many different merchant web stores for thousands of products so that I can concentrate on products and compare prices instead of reading all the search results just to see if the product is even in the results!
Eureka – a BRIGHT idea! Why don’t I create an Online Shopping Mall so that I do not have to do all that searching…….Bingo – the www.i-Shopping-Mall.com web site was born. The purpose is that an online shopping mall is meant to provide THE widest selection of web stores and products available for whatever occasion or products needed, and honestly, to help me over that mental block of “I don’t know what to buy”.
From a “Guys” perspective, the Online Shopping Mall is the perfect solution for guys that just need a quick way to buy products without all the hassles, and, to stay out of trouble with you-know-who. Using an Online Shopping Mall for all my needs, from the comfort of my home, allows me to look for coupons, discount prices and do price comparison shopping that I would normally miss in a retail shop. Additionally, an Online Shopping Mall offers a much wider selection of merchants, products, coupons, and bargains.
While constructing this shopping mall web site (remember this is a guy that does not like retail shopping), I used the male mentality. I wanted to be able to find the top outlet malls, discount stores and unique gift shops, all in one place, and to have access to current discount coupons, sales and great gift ideas from all the merchants.
This site is designed to present online retailers and products to hopefully make it easy for all to compare prices, find gift ideas, merchant bargains, and store coupons.
Everyone cares about price, product selection, and quality. At this mall you will find thousands of products for your selection with good quality and very good prices. When it comes to online shopping, you can’t beat the selection of products and merchants at www.i-Shopping-Mall.com.
Why use an Online Mall? It just makes sense…..IF!
Shopping and buying online means that there are new ways of reducing costs for everyone. The internet is providing a more effective way of buying products along with enjoying a wider choice of selections. When shopping online, what it all comes down to is how easy and convenient the process. Shopping a single merchant web site or an Online Shopping Mall will typically provide:
Online stores are usually available 24 hours a day, and many consumers have Internet access at work and at home. A visit to a physical retail store requires travel and must happen during business hours. However, there is always those consumers that prefer interacting with people rather than computers, primarily because they find computers hard to use.
Although somewhat frustrating, searching and browsing internet sites can be much faster than browsing the aisles of a physical store, but the fastest and least frustrating is shopping at an Online Mall that has hundreds of merchants.
A major advantage of shopping online is being able to quickly find deals for items or services with many different merchants. Search engines can be used to find a single merchant for a particular product or service, but why waste the time when a large Online Mall will probably have many more merchants in one location.
In general, shoppers can typically find a greater selection and lower prices online. This is because the cost of doing business for merchants is reduced significantly; no “brick-and-mortar” store needed, lower stocking costs, and lower staffing overhead. To be competitive merchants typically pass along those savings to consumers.
Shipping costs, to some degree, reduce the price advantage of online merchandise, although a lack of sales tax may compensate. Many merchants do offer free shipping as an incentive to buy.
And here’s the IF!
The Merchant Meets Consumer Expectations
Merchants’ must satisfy consumer’s expectations when building their retail web stores. The most important factors for consumers are the ease of use and the presence of user-friendly features. Use of a web site must be intuitive!
Not all online retailers have succeeded in making their sites reliable or easy to use. Before including a particular merchant web site in an Online Shopping Mall, the merchant web site should be navigated to see if any program errors are present. If so, that merchant site SHOULD NOT be included in the Shopping Mall list. Errors on a web site simply states that the merchant has not thought about the consumer and their expectations.
If a merchant wants their website to be popular among online shoppers they should try to leave the user with a positive impression about the web site so that consumers will get an impression that the merchant cares about them.
The merchant should remember that it is easier to lose a customer than to gain one. Merchant web sites will go nowhere if the site fails to live up to common etiquette such as returning e-mails in a timely fashion, notifying customers of problems, being honest, and being responsible with the customers’ information.
With all good things – there has to be a downside!
Most all the current Online Shopping Malls (in name only) offer primarily their specific products, which is good and primarily why they are in business. I do not consider these web sites shopping malls. The consumer has no real way of product or price comparison. A few do offer a mix of products and competing merchant stores, but very few!
The steward’s of real Online Shopping Mall’s should realize that they have a responsibility to consumers.
That responsibility lies in the area of helping the consumer understand the pitfalls of online shopping, and, making sure that the merchant stores that the shopping mall represents are reputable. The pitfalls to consumers and merchants are many, and no doubt more will be hatched by those that want something for nothing. Following are a few that consumers should be aware:
Am I getting what I ordered and can I return it?
Given that the consumer cannot touch the product, there is a concern that they will not get what they ordered. If there is a problem with the product or service, such as it is not what they ordered, or it is not what they expected, consumers have a fear that since it is not a “brick-and-mortar” store will they have a problem returning an item for the correct one or for a refund.
The consumer should always make sure that they read the return policy, if posted. If there is not a return policy on the site, DO NOT BUY!
Online merchants should have a more generous return policy to compensate for the traditional advantage of physical stores, and, to help consumers over the fear that they will not get what they ordered. Merchants should include labels for free return shipping, and not charge a restocking fee, even for returns which are not the result of a merchant error.
2-Way fraud and security concerns
Given the lack of ability to inspect merchandise before purchase, consumers are at higher risk of scams on the part of the merchant than in a physical store. Merchants also risk fraudulent purchases using stolen credit cards or fraudulent rejection of the online purchase.
Identity theft is a concern for consumers when they hear that hackers bypass a merchant’s web site security and steal names, addresses and credit card numbers. Computer security has become a major concern for merchants and e-commerce service providers. To offset this fear, merchants’ have installed countermeasures such as firewalls and anti-virus software to protect their networks and information.
To further build consumer confidence, many merchant web sites have undergone an independent assessment to make sure that their sites are hacker proof. Independent assessment companies will place a quality seal on the site if it meets all requirements of the company issuing the seal. Merchants’ should promote this security feature to a larger degree.
Privacy of personal information is a significant issue for a lot of consumers. Many consumers want to avoid spam and telemarketing which could result from supplying contact information to an online merchant that is not so reputable. In response, many merchants promise not to use consumer information for these purposes, or provide a mechanism to opt-out of such contacts.
Brick-and-mortar stores also collect consumer information. Some ask for address and phone number at checkout, and some consumers refuse to provide it. Many larger stores use the address information encoded on consumers’ credit cards, often without the consumers knowledge, to add them to a catalog mailing list. People should remember that this information is not accessible to the merchant when paying in cash.
Ah, the unprepared shopper!
Phishing is when consumers are fooled into thinking they are dealing with a reputable retailer when they have actually been manipulated into feeding private information to a system operated by a malicious party. To overcome this problem, consumers should:
Although the benefits of online shopping are many, the downsides are also numerous. Consumers cannot always be aware of the most current technology and scams out there to fully protect themselves and their finances. One of the hardest things that a consumer has to deal with in online shopping is to feel that they have been scammed.
For the stated reasons in this article, it is the responsibility of online merchants, especially Online Shopping Malls that represent many merchants, to help consumers understand the pitfalls of online shopping, keep abreast of the most current technology, and constantly investigate and publish information about scams. This statement can be considered the “Mission Statement” of http://www.i-shopping-mall.com.
In closing, merchant’s should always remember that there are certain things, such as understanding the customer’s wants and needs, living up to promises, keeping their site current by never going out of style, and always give consumer’s reason to come back.
Author: William Hill