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Monday, January 12, 2009

Online Holiday Shopping Tips

With just a click of the mouse, shoppers can buy nearly any product online -- from groceries to magazine subscriptions. The world of electronic commerce enables consumers to shop at thousands of online stores and pay for their purchases without leaving the comfort of home. Electronic commerce or e-commerce consists of buying and selling of products and or services over the Internet. E-commerce has grown extraordinarily in the last 20 years and encompasses a wider range of technologies like e-mail. Often e-commerce retailers are called e-tailers and the act of selling products online is known as e-tailing.

E-commerce has been around a lot longer than most consumers are aware. Early versions of e-commerce are electronic data interchange and electronic funds transfer, which were introduced in the 1970s. In the 1980s e-commerce consisted of the use of automated teller machines, telephone banking and
credit cards. By the 1990s e-commerce included enterprise resource planning, data mining and data warehousing. Online shoppers should look for many of the same elements as they would when shopping in a traditional, non-Internet store. Some of these elements are exceptional customer service, easy to understand policies, discount offers and easy navigation--on the site rather than in a physical store.

For many, the Internet is an intimidating place. It is important to remember the same things can go wrong shopping in cyberspace as in shopping in a traditional store. Sometimes it is simply a case of a computer glitch or poor customer service. Other times, shoppers are cheated by clever scam artists. It is important to be an informed consumer whether shopping online or at the mall. Like traditional brick-and-mortar
stores, e-tailers offer shoppers many coupons, coupon codes and discount especially during the holiday shopping season. Many e-tailers offer first-time shoppers discount deals. Also, many e-tailers offer e-mail newsletters--much like department store sale papers--to inform consumers of special discount deals and promotional deals. Read More>>