1a) What experiences have you had with shopping online?
A majority of my online shopping has resulted in a good experience. Generally the only issues I have had with online shopping are regarding the sizing of clothes that I have purchased.
b) Describe a good experience.
Recently I purchased some shoes off the Stringer Sports website. I knew exactly what shoe size I needed so that removed the risk of ordering the wrong size shoes. They only took 2 days to deliver them, which I was impressed with as I have heard people waiting up to a week to receive their goods.
c) What did you like about the online store you used?
They have a large range of shoes available to choose from, including those shoes which are new to the market. The user interface of the website is very simple and easy to use, presenting all the necessary information about the shoes. Also allows you to pay via PayPal which I prefer as it is much safer than providing Credit Card details directly to the online store.
You can view the Stringer Sports Website here for yourself.
Stringer Sports Website
d) Describe a bad experience.
When I am buying clothes online, generally I am good at judging the size that I need. However, on one occasion I ordered a size larger than I required. Although the online store was happy to exchange it for the smaller size, it was just a hassle to package it up and send it back to the store, as well as taking over 2 weeks to complete the whole process.
e) What problems did you have with the online store?
In this particular instance, the online store did not provide measurements correlating to each size, therefore I had to make a judgement based on what I normally wear, which turned out to be different to their size. However, I had no difficulties when I was contacting the online store to return and exchange it for a smaller size.
f) What features make an online store more appealing?
I think the most important feature that online shopping has is that you are able to shop when you want, wherever you want, 24/7. Instead of having to physically go into the store, consumers are able to browse the online shop with ease, searching for particular things, and can purchase items with just a click of a button. Similarly, these items are then delivered right to your doorstep, removing the need to physically go into the shop at all.
g) What features make an online store less appealing?
One issue, especially with clothes is the complicated nature of some sizing charts provided by websites. They often provide too detailed sizing charts, overcomplicating the simple measurements and leaving the consumer confused. A lot of people are still wary of entering their personal details over the internet too, especially with the very real threat of identity theft nowadays.
h) Should we expect to see the prices of goods and services rise or fall due to the migration of consumers online?
I believe that with the increased usage of online shopping, the price of goods and services will stay at a fairly constant level. However, there is the potential that in the future prices will increase as the number of physical shops decrease, especially for specialized products.
Communications infrastructure – will increase due to the increase in demand.
Structured environment – in the short term may decrease to promote growth of online shopping, however in the future will ultimately increase to the decreasing demand.
Transaction mechanism – increase due to the increasing number of transactions occurring.
Delivery – actual costs may decrease over time to promote online shopping further, however other costs may drive the price up, such as the increasing cost of fuel.
2a) The dispersion of prices (that is, the spread between the lowest and highest price for a particular product) will narrow – I believe this is true as online stores recognize the important of presenting a price which is attractive to the consumer, whilst also maintaining a competitive advantage over competitor products. Especially as brand awareness grows over time, I believe that price dispersion will be minimal.
b) The importance of brand names will decrease – I believe that the brand names will remain important to the consumer, with those products that are from a well-known and trusted brand more likely to be purchased over ones which are from an unknown brand.
c) Price competition will make all products cheaper – Ultimately over time I believe that price competition will lower the price of products as brands and organizations aim to achieve a competitive edge over rivals. The more suppliers that produce the same product, the more likely that the price will become cheaper over time due to competition between the suppliers.
d) Digital markets will become dominated by a handful of mega-sites, like Amazon.com – There is definitely the potential for mega-sites such as Amazon.com to dominate the digital market, however the use of search engines such as Google allows for specific products to be found from specific brands on different sites. There has been a rise in the number of smaller websites which provide products at a cheaper price to that of the mega-sites, however they ‘unknown’ aspect of these websites e.g. delivery success can mean that consumers may be more likely to purchase products off mega-sites even if they are a little bit more expensive as they know and trust the site.
e) How do you think the balance of power between buyer’s and seller’s will change? Buyers will definitely control the power in the future over sellers. Through a simple search on Google, they are able to find the cheapest price for the product they are looking for, or they will keep looking until they find the price that they want. Sellers will always be working hard to ensure that their prices remain attractive to the consumer, especially over competitor products.
f) Prices are clustered online – Although electronic trading will have some effect on the price clustering of the products, the major factor for pricing of products will always be the quality and the supply/demand of the product.
g) Online prices are elastic (i.e. immune to change up and down with demand) – I agree, as price elasticity represents the relationship between the demand and supply. No matter how many people are shopping online, both now and in the future, there are always going to be differences between the supply and demand within an online store that leads to the fluctuation of product prices.
h) Online prices are generally transparent (the extent to which prices for a given product or service are known by buyers in the marketplace.) – To an extent yes, however there are also some hidden costs that first-time users are unaware of such as the shipping and delivery service feeds. These can range from minimal costs up to the larger amounts, especially when goods are purchased from an overseas online shop. However, these are generally always provided to the consumer, with 24/7 access allowing anyone to look up the prices.
3a) What types of m-commerce services does your cell phone provider offer? I am currently with Telstra, and as part of this I receive games, movies and other entertainment, content and products, mobile banking and many other m-commerce services.
b) Which of these services do you use? Mostly I use the mobile banking services due to its convenience, as well as the entertainment and movie services.
c) What types of transactions do you perform through your cell phone or other wireless device? A majority of the money that I spend through my cellphone is on the App Store and the iTunes Store, as well as the mobile banking apps which I have.
d) What types of transactions would you like to perform, but are currently unable to? One big transaction that I believe has a future on mobile devices is the use of EFTPOS, it would make it much easier to purchase products on mobile devices rather than having to enter personal and bank details through a mobile phone, which with a smaller keyboard can lead to mistakes.
e) What is your opinion of wireless advertising/mobile marketing? Obviously nowadays advertising has become significant and is now accepted in our everyday life, however I feel that the consumer should be able to control the advertising that they are subject to. Similarly, the magnitude of advertising in some of the free applications from the App Store is overwhelming, which for some people can result in them purchasing the paid version of the App just to avoid the advertisements.