September 6th, 2005 18:33 EST
Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed: Just A Click Away
The journey of shopping can be paradise for some people, but for some it is not. Many people face torture when parking their car becomes rush hour in the middle of the afternoon, and waiting in line to check out feels like black Friday in the month of July.
Internet shopping has become a popular system for consumers to purchase items. With a fast paced environment and a busy schedule, shopping online is convenient and suitable for many individuals.
“It’s available 24 hours a day and there’s no sales tax,” said Sarah Slinski, a online customer who likes to shop at Gap, Banana Republic and Victoria’s Secret.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, computer ownership in the United States grew in 2000 to more than half of all households, with 51 percent, having at least one computer.
Slinski, like many other individuals, enjoys shopping on the internet because of its availability and ease. Many web sites, such as Craigslist (www.craigslist.org), offer products and services that are not accessible face to face. Craig’s special list provides local communities with classifieds for jobs, furniture, advice, goods, and services. Craig Newmark created the site in 1995 to provide the public with a trustworthy, efficient place to fulfill their basic needs.
Internet shopping also offers several links for consumers to window shop for houses or automobiles. Buying groceries and pre-ordering books is also a click away.
Peapod (www.peapod.com) provides groceries for your home or business with just a stroke of a keyboard. Peapod allows busy parents to order meats, fruits, and vegetables online to have them delivered.
Andrew and Thomas Parkinson created the business in 1989. With more than 8,000 products to choose from, the site allows you to browse the aisles and the specials without bumping your cart into someone or rushing through the freezing produce section.
While Slinkski is shopping online for clothes, her neighbor with three kids is getting her goods for dinner with an arrival ring from her doorbell.
Slinski said grocery shopping online caters to busy mothers who have a difficult time shopping with kids, or for the elderly who cannot lift heavy grocery bags. Peapod delivers in Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Chicagoland, Milwaukee, and S.E. Wisconsin.
Barnes & Noble (www.bn.com) is another site that allows you to shop online that supplies books, textbooks, and music for electronic shoppers. The web site gives consumers access to a search for books by subjects, titles, and authors. But if Barnes & Noble doesn’t satisfy your shopping experience, you can purchase and also pre-order books with Wal-Mart’s web site (www.walmart.com). Wal-Mart has several departments including jewelry, baby, furniture, books, movies and apparel.
Jason Cavosora, an occasional online shopper, purchases products about three times a year through the internet. Being able to pre-order “Harry Potter” helped Cavosora avoid the commotion and the chance of facing a “sold out” book. However, despite its usual convenience, ordering online is not always flawless. On July 17, 2005, Cavosora expected to find a brown package on his front door step, but instead he saw nothing but empty space.
Due to insufficient funds, Cavosora’s order was not delivered, but he was never contacted or emailed by Wal-Mart’s web site. Since his online experience did not go as planned, he bought the book at a local Wal-Mart without the additional shipping and handling charge.
And there are shipping costs to consider.
“Everyone has his or her own consumer behavior,” Cavosora explained.
Cavosora said online shopping can be an advantage depending on the person. If a person wants to shop for a specific product, internet shopping is more favorable than shopping in the actual store. But if you like to take your time, shopping at a store is a better choice. Slinski also said she likes to “touch, smell the shopping experience,” which is something you do not get online.
People like Gail Kline use online shopping once a month, but last Christmas using the internet became a daily routine. Using the computer accommodates ones who need to stay home.
For five months, Kline had to wear a cast for her broken foot, so using the internet allowed her to finish her Christmas shopping for her family and friends without going out.
“Shopping online was convenient but I really missed the Christmas decorations,” said Kline.
Since Internet shopping requires no personal interaction, the experience could be a positive or negative experience, depending on a person’s personality or situation.
As technology increases, Internet shopping is becoming a utility in every home. With a click of a mouse, online shopping can be a wonderful voyage. The lighting of the monitor brightens your face and the typing of your address becomes common keys to your fingers.