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Found an interesting article that was published in 2008 and in it they claimed that across the globe, people buying online rose from 10% to 85% in 2 years!! Here we are now, 5 years on, it’s 2013. So how many people, worldwide, are opting to buy online rather than purchase from a conventional store? My guess, humongous, and it’s on the increase!! Karen Collier from The Herald Sun reported on May 29, 2012 “that Aussie online shoppers spend $11.1AUS billion a year – or $500AUS each – according to the NAB’s online retail sales index”. Karen’s article went on to say that although residents in metropolitan areas made up almost three-quarters of the purchases, it was Glenrowan,
a small country town in Victoria, with a resident population of 963 in 2011, that recorded the highest average online annual spending at $1,351AUS a shopper!! Online shopping frees you from the stresses of trying to find what you’re looking for in a conventional shop, shopping complex or a mall. No car parking problems (no trolleys to avoid), no jostling in the crowds, plenty of time to browse and compare prices from many stores all at once without moving too far from your chair, and above all, no shopping bags to carry around for hours! But, is it all that stress free? How comfortable are you handing over your cash online? Face to face selling is slowly becoming a thing of the past but it does have its advantages. You can walk into a conventional store, the salesperson greets you, smiles at you (or at least they should greet you and smile at you!!) which immediately creates a welcoming, comfortable and trusting buying environment. You form an instant opinion. You like the layout of the store, you like the person that’s there to help you make your choice, so you feel you can trust them, you like the products (otherwise you wouldn’t have gone into the shop in the first place!!), so you’re more than likely going to end up buying something there. And, you know that you won’t have a problem getting onto them in the event that you get home and, for whatever reason, you need to get in touch. So, how do you form an instant opinion about an ‘unconventional’ store, which, theoretically, has ‘no face’? Without person to person engagement, how can an online store gain your trust? In Australia, retailers accepting payments online through their websites must abide by and comply with the same rules and regulations that govern any business, with a few important additional requirements. An online store’s website must be active and accessible for navigation. In other words, when you type in the web address of the online store in your browser, it should immediately open up to its home page and you should be able to navigate logically around the site and find what you’re looking for without too much difficulty. This alone suggests a significant investment by the organisation to providing potential customers with the resources necessary for them to make an informed decision to buy from that store. The Domain Name (that’s the http://www. address) must be owned by the person or persons or organisation(s) that have set up the website. To comply with this regulation, an online store must clearly display its Business Name, the ABN (Australian Business Number) or ACN (Australian Company Number) associated with the business, its physical location (that is, the legally registered business address) and its contact details including landline phone number, mobile phone number and email address. The website must also; clearly state the products or services being sold, the Refund, Returns, Privacy Policies and Terms and Conditions and delivery instructions and time frames. Prices located on the website must be denominated in Australian Dollars and should indicate whether the price is inclusive or exclusive of any tax. When you navigate to the store’s ‘Sign In’, ‘Create an Account’, ‘My Account’ and ‘Order Status’ pages, you will notice a ‘closed padlock’ image displayed in your address bar that indicates that the online store you’re looking at has been properly registered and has been verified with the relevant regulatory authorities and should therefore be considered trustworthy. You will also notice in the address bar of a secure and verified online store that the address will have changed from http:// to https:/ (‘s’ for secure) indicating the store’s use of SSL (Secure Socket Layer) technology to ensure secure processing of your payment and protection of all your personal information.
Look for all the signs that indicate that the website you’re looking at is safe, then go ahead and enjoy the benefits of truly stress free online shopping.