Social implications of eCommerce

Social implication of e-Commerce means how the emergence of e-Commerce has affected society since online shopping has become popular. Some of the implications are as follows:

Changing customer perspective:
This includes how internet shopping has provided added value to customers as they can buy products from anywhere in the world and can compare prices in the global market to get the best deals and find the best products. In the beginning when e-Commerce was starting out people were unsure about the level of service that they would receive. Since then many laws have been made so that e-Commerce organisations provide service of an excellent level and customers can expect the same level of service as they would do in a high street shop. Customer perspective has also changed on security issues and ease of using e-Commerce websites. In the beginning people were unsure about using their credit cards online but since then many people are trusting when paying online and many of the older generation now shop online.

Economic and social impact due to speed of changes:
Society have been impacted by e-Commerce sites and the speed at which things change online. Many products become available online before they do in high street stores and many people use sites such as Amazon to pre-order the latest and greatest tech gadgets so that they have them as soon as they are released. The other speed of change that impacts online shoppers is how easily prices can change and how this provides good value for the shopper. An example of this is online deals that make purchasing items cheaper due to the time needed to dispatch the items. Pricing also changes based on demand and this can be seen by how airlines offer deals based on the number of flights that are already booked. Normally booking early allows you to buy tickets cheaper and prices can change dramatically as demand increase. Similarly prices of items go down based on the shelf life of an object and many sports items get sold off at discount prices when new season ranges are introduced.

Bricks and clicks (integrating high street and online presence):
The presence of online and high street presence gives shoppers both options and means that some consumers are more confident in the fact that they can go to the shop to return items that they have bought online. Some individuals will be more trusting of a retailer that has a high street and online presence due to the fact that they have the option to visit the physical store and try before they buy with more expensive items and order smaller items online. An example of a retailer that has a brick and click presence would be Argos.

Benefits for customers:
There are many benefits to customers when shopping online. These included remote shopping which means being able to shop at any time from the comfort of your own home. Having access to goods and services for the housebound means that people who cannot leave the house can have shopping delivered on a weekly basis. This option is available from many supermarkets such as Asda or tesco in the UK. The main advantage of this is that you have anytime access and can order goods as and when they are needed and they will be delivered within the proposed deliver time. Having anytime access allows people to shop in the middle of the night which is an option not always offered in the high street. As mentioned earlier many e-Commerce companies offer internet discounts due to the fact that they can run their business cheaper as staffing costs are less than having a high street presence.

Some of the drawbacks are payment security, some people just have a lack of trust when shopping online and there have been cases of credit card fraud and cases of e-commerce companies getting negative press due to this. Also when shopping online you cannot assess quality and fit without actual product so the fact that you cannot try before you buy does put some shoppers off. Normally if an e-commerce company has a brick and click presence then customers are more confident as they have the try before you buy and online option. Other disadvantages are that many e-commerce companies have a reliance on delivery services this means that some customers have a mistrust of shopping online when they want a product for a certain time period such as a birthday or for Christmas. E-Commerce companies need to be confident that they are using a reputable delivery company as the longevity of their business will depend on this. Another negative impact of e-commerce organisations are that can some have a negative impact on employment. They hire less staff as running a warehouse does not necessarily mean having sales staff and rather they just rely on delivery management staff. It takes a lot less staff to process 1,000 orders online than across a number of high street stores so the profit for the company is greater but employment opportunities are less than they would normally be. Another negative aspect of e-Commerce is that causes a social divide,  in the developed world people have access to 24/7 goods and services but in places with under developed infrastructure and internet access the same opportunities are not available and therefore the social divide increase on a global scale.

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