E-commerce (electronic commerce) can be defined as commercial transactions of goods and services over the internet and other computer networks (Chaudhury & Kuilboer, 2002). It consists of online shopping, online banking and e-learning (Tkacz & Kapczynski, 2009). E-commerce is becoming increasingly popular since the spread of the internet. The e-commerce users are businesses, consumers and government departments (Kessler, 2009). E-commerce is controversial but the advantages of it greatly outweigh the disadvantages.
To begin with, e-commerce offers consumers speed and convenience. E-shopping involves a web site that sells goods and/or services without the direct, face to face, contact between the vendor and the customer. This process is easy and only takes a few clicks before the client/customer has bought themself something. Compared to the traditional way of shopping, online shopping is far more convenient. The traditional way of shopping involves driving the car to shopping centers and if the desired item is not there, then driving to further shops. After getting to the desired destination, the customer has to “fight” for parking space, walk from store to store and aisle to aisle looking for the items desired. After that process, there is a chance the queue for the checkouts are long. Then there is the issue of carrying out the merchandise. This whole shopping process can take hours (Kessler, 2009)! Many people avoid all this hassle nowadays by shopping online in the comfort of their own home.
According to a study (Entrepreneur, 2003) 72% of online shoppers chose convenience over privacy. In addition, consumers can shop without time limitation with 24 hour access at because the World Wide Web never closes. Another advantage of e-commerce is the ability to comparison shop. Comparison shopping is the act of comparing prices of something in advance before shopping for the best bargain. E-commerce allows consumers to compare prices and brands and conduct research quicker and with less effort. It also lets everyone access the global market to purchase goods and services. The internet has no geographical boundaries and allows people to browse through countless stores and compare as many products as they want (Tkacz & Kapczynski, 2009) .
E-commerce allows shoppers to obtain information about the particular product online. The World Wide Web has reviews and detailed information on almost anything (GlobalSchoolnet, 2011). There are websites such as EBay that have feedback from buyers that lets other buyers know how the product really is. These reviews and feedback are another great advantage of e-commerce because it helps protect consumers from undesirable scams and businesses online.
Although e-commerce is becoming more popular, many people are still concerned with the security and privacy of it. These are a few perceived disadvantages of e-commerce. Privacy is the number one...