ONLINE SHOPPING VS. TRADITIONAL SHOPPING
Watson (2001) defines online shopping as the use of computer technology to purchase products from retailers and/or stores. Unlike traditional shopping, the entire transaction is handled over the internet with no need for the person purchasing the item(s) to enter the actual physical store where the product is sold. According to Forrester Research (2003), a company that conducts research for retailers who sell online, while last year was relatively disappointing for the retail industry, online retail sales were growing exponentially. Indeed, online sales were $76 billion in 2002 which was a 48 percent increase over the previous year. In other words, the online shopping industry is growing and there are good reasons to believe that, at least for awhile, this growth will continue.
However, a key question that might be asked is whether online shopping,(while clearly more convenient than getting up, getting dressed and going to the store), can ever attain the purchasing power of the traditional market systems? This paper compares and contrasts traditional shopping to online shopping. Following this comparison, an analysis is offered. The central thesis is that despite its advantages, there are a number of drawbacks associated with online shopping, drawbacks which are so profound, they will always keep online shopping falling behind traditional market systems.
Online vs. Traditional Shopping; Comparison
Kelley (1999) notes that the primary advantage to online shopping is the ability for consumers to quickly and conveniently buy a new product and do so without having to leave the office or home. However, there are a number of other comparisons that can be made between online shopping and traditional shopping. Some of these have been discussed by Hoffman, Novak and Chatterjee (1995) who report that with traditional shopping, the identity of the merchant is easily authenticated simply b...