The purpose in undertaking this research is to determine the different factors which influence the acceptance of online shopping and also to investigate on the likeliness of consumers to buy and do their shopping online. In order to gain sufficient data to analyse the different factors, we will use a questionnaire as a survey instrument asking users that are involved in online shopping questions. The forecasted result of this research is to shed light on how many people are actually using the internet as a means to shop in Mauritius and to get a full understanding of consumer motivations for online shopping. The benefits of the research will be numerous and can be outlined as encouraging consumers to turn to online shopping and retailers attracting more customers. The benefit it will be bring to the government cannot be ignored, increased online shopping and thus an increased number of transactions will have a positive impact on the economy.
The growth of technology has been accompanied by the evolution of shopping. In the recent years, online shopping has gain popularity. Online shopping, also known as electronic shopping, internet buying, online purchasing or internet shopping, has been defined as the process through which purchase of goods take place over the internet (Mastercard Worldwide Insights, 2008). Nowadays, online shopping is becoming a trend and a norm. Consumers from all over the world have a preference to shop online as it consists of many advantages.
Determinants of Online Purchase
From the consumer's point of view, online shopping has taken care of the numerous traditional shopping inconveniences such as battling crowds, fighting for parking spaces at busy malls and standing and waiting in long checkout lines. The ability to compare available products and their prices from different outlets via the internet without wasting time searching is a definite advantage to the customers (Rowley, 1996). Alreck and Settle (2002) found that in comparison to traditional shopping modes, a significant amount of time was saved by the use of internet shopping. A secure and well-designed website is another determinant of online shopping. Moreover, convenience is another major benefit of online shopping owing to the fact that there exist no space or time constraints on the internet (Bhatnagar and Ghose, 2004; Forsythe et al, 2006).
Determinants of Online Repurchase
Nevertheless, Yu (2007) has mentioned that although users have accepted to use online shopping, it does not mean that they will have a repurchase or continuance behavior towards online shopping. Trust, satisfaction and shopping enjoyment can be considered as the motivators of behavioral intention to online repurchase. Furthermore, customers who have efficiently and successfully completed an online purchasing transaction will show greater repurchase intentions (Babin and Babin, 2001). Therefore, retailers should see to it that their website comprises of all the determinants that lead to repurchase.
Internet is offering retailers a global marketplace which spread to new markets that they have not been able to reach through their physical stores. Pyle (1996) states that worldwide connectivity of the internet has encouraged the emergence of such modern approaches that cannot be matched by traditional commerce. Attracting and retaining online customers are what make the success of an online site. Furthermore, the competitive positions of retailers are strengthened through the use of retail sites as compared to those who do not have one (Doherty and Ellis Chadwick, 1999; Levenberg, 2005).
However, despite the remarkable growth and optimistic outlook regarding online shopping, there are still some issues that prevent a consumer to shop online. There are many consumers who browse on retail websites with the intention to buy something, but for some reason they do not go through with the transaction. Also, in some cases, they do not browse on the same website a second time to make another purchase. In spite of the fact that 95 percent of internet users go on online retail websites, a majority of them do so without actually having the intention of making a transaction (Cho, 2004). The implication is clear, although internet users have been discovering attractive shopping opportunities online, there are concerns and barriers preventing them to continuously buy online. The uptake of online shopping has had a slower progress than expected (Huang and Oppewal, 2006).
Research has shown that the major obstacles to the consumer acceptance of online shopping are information privacy and security. Consumers are most willing to shop online as they think it is convenient and it saves time, but they also are reluctant to send credit card or personal information over the internet. Other issues involving online shopping is the design of the website. Many consumers encounter frustration and other frictions due to user-unfriendliness of some websites. Another deterrent is the trustworthiness of the website, in terms of misrepresentation of products, personal details not being kept confidential and so on.
Aims and Objectives
This study aims at finding out how several factors impact on consumers' decision on whether to shop online and the main issues involving adoption of internet retailing.
To help shoppers be comfortable with the online channel.
To assess the pre-requisites for mass-market acceptance of online shopping technology.
To help retailers make informed decisions as regards most responsive audiences.
To facilitate cross-trade.
For the requirement of this research we will consider questionnaires as a survey instrument asking users, who make use of online shopping, questions. These questions will then supply us with sufficient data to analyse the situation of online shopping in Mauritius. We will make use of a 100 people sample, 10 of which will be retailers and the rest will be consumers. Two different types of questionnaires will be provided, one structured for consumers and the other for retailers. The administration of the questionnaires for consumers will be done face-to-face whereas as far as the retailers are concerned, their questionnaires will be mailed.
The cost effectiveness of questionnaires is what made us chose this method, a large sample of a given population can be reached at relatively low cost. Moreover, they are simple to manage and the data can be gathered rather quickly from a large number of respondents. Another advantage in using questionnaires is that they are quite easy and simple to analyse as compared to other methods. Data entry and tabulation can be easily done by the use of computer software packages. All the respondents who will answer the questionnaire will do so anonymously and thus they may be more honest.
The consumer questionnaire will consists of 5 sections. Section 1 will consists of the respondents information requiremement. This will help create a respondent profile. Under this section, we will try to categorise the respondents into groups. There will be questions about the age group in which they fall, their gender, income range, education qualification, job profile and how often do they shop online. Section 2 will concern the security issues associated with online shopping. There will be questions about if they feel that the website they are using is secure, are they reluctant to send personal or credit card informationâ€¦ Section 3 will deal most with how the internet users perceive the website they are using, is it usually down, dull, user-friendly, what online shopping website they usually visit and buy from. Section 4 will include literacy issues, how easy is it to understand everything on the website, are respondents usually frustrated by the language used on the website. Section 5 will deal with product misrepresentation, is the product that is shown on the website exactly the same in reality, do cognitive dissonance situations ariseâ€¦
The retailers' questionnaire also will consist of 5 sections. First section will deal with general information such as does it offer internet shopping services, number of employees working in the retailers' shopsâ€¦ Section 2 will concern the websites they provide, interactive websites or static websites and so on. Section 3 is the mode of payment section, what facilities does the retailer offer etc. Section 4 will deal with which market segment the retailer is targeting. Lastly, questions about how beneficent the website is to the retailer will be asked.
Benefits of the Research
By undergoing this research we will get information about the real status of online shopping in Mauritius. We will get accurate data and we can depend on these data to make decisions, identify effective strategies and contrive future plans. This research will even help retailers who are considering to enter the internet market. They will get an idea which specific market segment to focus on and target and which market segment is more lucrative. The retailers will get a better insight on how to communicate with the different segments, targeting the different segments with different needs with specific messages rather than passing on a single message to everyone.