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Online Merchants, Gaining Trust and Respect
8/21/2008 4:57:00 PM

We live in a digital age where it is easier to log on to the web to browse the coolest new gear than it is to trek out to the mall. But for the longest time the retail space on the web was dominated by large companies which had invested heavily in brand image and real brick and mortar stores. Often time’s smaller companies would struggle to gain a foothold on the web since consumers would invariably choose to purchase from the larger retail outfit.


The reason consumers choose larger retail outfits is pretty easy to explain. When the web was fresh and new stores like BestBuy and Sears had already built a reputation as being reliable merchants, an image which consumers carried over when they shopped on the web. Consumers felt more comfortable giving a credit card number to a large company they already knew and did business with than a small internet retailer. Brands like Amazon and Ebay advertised fairly heavily in traditional media to establish that brand image, giving them credibility with consumers. This led to a few large online outlets for retail sales but still left the smaller retailers fighting for scraps.


But the internet has changed and grown dramatically since then. Services like PayPal and Google Checkout have given consumers peace of mind when dealing with online merchants. Online merchants may not have a massive distribution network but they don’t have to, they can use any number of shipping options. Online merchants can also operate the cost of maintaining a physical retail store, increasing margins.


To be fair, two years ago I would not have bought anything online unless it came from a large brand which I knew. Now I have both Google Checkout and PayPal accounts and I feel comfortable shopping anywhere on the web that offers those forms of payment during the checkout process.  Buying online is often cheaper for me than actually traveling to the store to purchase a product. I never have to spend on gas, I can compare various retailers side by side instantly, and I can do it all while watching reruns of M*A*S*H.

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Tags: Online Shopping Trends, Online shopping growth, PayPal, Google Checkout, Credibility
Categories: Commerce Insights Blog
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