Buying Online: Join the revolution: Sell on the Web

There is a general fear about giving out credit card details over the Internet in case they are used illegally

Fast, convenient and cheap; the major obstacle deterring consumers from buying through the internet is suspicion. "People are still stuck in the fear of giving away their credit card details," says Daniel Bieler, Internet consultant at analysts Ovum.

Banks, bookshops, holiday companies, software firms, stamp companies, record shops, and even supermarkets are are using the Internet with relish. If you can think of it, you can buy it online. Sales of products on the Internet topped pounds 8.8m in the UK last year, but are expected to have grown to pounds 130m by 2002, according to research company Datamonitor.

Dell Computers, a PC company that founded its reputation on sales of computers by phone, has been selling its computers via the Internet in the US for over two years, and started this in Europe in May last year. Worldwide it sells pounds 3.5m worth of computers a day and over pounds 600,000 a day in Europe. The company sells 12 per cent of its machines via the internet, but hopes to make this 50 per cent by 2000.

"We believe this is the way of the future for commerce generally," says Paul Roff, the company's European Internet development manager. He believes Web shopping has made things easier for both customer and for the company. "It can save time. It used to take us on average three calls to close a sale but that closure rate has dropped to just half a call per order. Sometimes we still need to call back to check a detail on financing, or whatever.

"Things are certainly a lot easier for customers. They used to have to ask specific questions to get the right information, but now all the information is available there in front of them [on the Website]." says Mr Roff.

For the moment most retailing is fairly straightforward. Surfers are using the internet to buy train tickets, computer software, CDs, books - generally products they know and trust. Before long more variable products, like fresh produce, will be sold on the Internet. This may require adding better quality pictures and interactive images to the Web shopping experience.

That revolution could be coming not via the computer, but via digital television. All the digital television providers are eyeing our online wallets. Even in the early days there will be interactive advertisements. Using the remote control, you will be able to request further information from advertisers via the modem attached to the digital television. Within a year or more, there will be fully integrated television receivers that incorporate a Web browser and a television advertisement will automatically connect you to a Website where more information will be available.

The rise in online shopping has not been without hitches. Companies like Dixons, Argos and Barclays have tried but failed to make an impression.

"Lots of companies have real trouble branding themselves successfully on the internet," says Mr. Bieler. But while some of their efforts have even been damaging to the brand, now is the time for companies to experiment online, he says. With few shoppers, companies can learn from their mistakes and prepare for the future.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: PCV Bus Drivers / Car Movers

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Do you enjoy bus driving and are looking for ...

    Recruitment Genius: Software / Web Developer - ASP.NET

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company produces a wide ra...

    Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

    £22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

    Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

    £14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones