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
Tuesday 29 September 1998
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.
Life & Style blogs
Watching TV after work makes you feel 'guilty and like a failure'
NHS medics are being lured away to Australia by more money, status and sunshine, survey suggests
Xiaomi Mi4: 'Chinese Apple' launches flagship mobile to challenge iPhone
Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Condom couture: Latex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
- 1 Calum Chambers: Southampton's latest example of Generation X-factor
- 2 Crash victims in car flattened by shipping container emerge with just minor injuries
- 3 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 4 Exclusive: David Cameron’s Big Society in tatters as charity watchdog launches investigation into claims of Government funding misuse
- 5 Joey Barton and Yossi Benayoun become involved in Twitter row over Israel-Gaza conflict
£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...