The internet has become indispensable to our lives. The end is near and the future is bleak for high street shopping declares a leading industry in web design and web development solution. More than a decade ago, it was prophesied that the advent of the internet will kill off high street shops and this can be evidenced in the popularity of online shopping when it comes to categories like clothes, music, films, books and even food (Levene, 2012). The continued breakthrough in technology and subsequent reliance by consumers on technology is ‘rapidly reshaping’ high street shopping experience (Warman, 2013).It has been reported that in no time the “boundaries between the physical and virtual space” will soon become blurred which may lead to the closure of shops as we have known them in the near future (Kollewe, 2012). Further stressing this point, Kollewe (2012) states that, four out of ten shops will shut down in the next five years as consumers increasingly abandon the traditional way of shopping in favour of online shopping. Corc (2010) has pointed out that many high street stores have expanded and grown their market by making use of the opportunities the internet offers to expand and reach a whole new clientele. By having a high street store and also a virtual store, companies ‘get the best of both worlds’. By pushing and marketing their products online and also having them in a physical store, retailers can posture and position themselves and taking advantage of the increased demand for online shopping availability. By shopping online, consumers can conveniently purchase products at their own convenience in the comfort of their homes without having to leave their homes in search of high street stores. However, there are still consumers who like and actually enjoy going into high street stores. Corc (2010) states that for some of these consumers, who either shop online or go into physical stores to buy their products, any method of purchase basically boils down to ‘generation gap’ . This research will seek to review the decline of high street shopping as we know it and also seek to understand why in addition to the benefits and barriers of the rise of the online shopping experience. Solutions will be proffered to how both can exist and an in-depth exploration into the literature of key terms will be carried out. This research also seeks to add to the body of knowledge of the key terms.
KEY TERMS FOR THE STUDY
High street shopping
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
SUMMARY OF CONTENT
This research dissertation will be divided into six primary chapters in order to have a comprehensive outlook of the title. They are:
The Introduction chapter 1: this will be looking at the context in which online shopping and high street shopping is set and the rationale for the argument. The chapter will also seek to present the dissertation aims and objectives and also outline some of the research problems.
The Literature review chapter 2: this chapter will seek to evaluate critically, the existing literature with a view to presenting some background theory, while giving a summary of research carried out by organisations, government bodies, research units with statistics and publications. This chapter will aim to highlight the key terms and explore the benefits and barriers of high street shopping and online shopping and add to the debate through empirical evidence.
The Research Methodology Chapter 3: this chapter will refresh the clear aims and objectives of the research, with a view to describing how the research design will be carried out. A critical and clear application and design of the research will be highlighted in this chapter in order to provide clarity.
The Secondary and Primary research findings Chapter 4: this chapter is one that will present a comprehensive summary of the primary research that will be carried out in the course of the study and will be clearly reported to provide empirical evidence.
The Analysis, Evaluation and Discussion of the Findings Chapter 5: this chapter will seek to provide fact and figures to support the dissertation and also show concrete evidence and statistical qualitative analysis of the research findings.
The Conclusion Chapter 6: this chapter will aim to summarise all that was researched with a view to providing a comprehensive summary that will contribute to knowledge and also highlight the limitations of the study and areas for future work. Some recommendations will be highlighted for the future.
Secondary and Primary research findings
Analysis, Evaluation and Discussion
I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the advice and encouragement given by my Course Tutor in helping with the completion of this work. Your contribution has been invaluable.
I would also like to thank the different individuals and business owners that took the time to speak to me and contributed and showed genuine interest in the research.
Finally I would like to thank my mother for her understanding and support and patience during my time in the University and during this research. I also want to thank all my family members and friends who have offered a kind word or two during the stressful times and to all, I am deeply grateful.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Context and rationale
This dissertation is focused on examining the upward spiral of the internet and it subsequent effect on the traditional way of high street shopping which has been seen as a more traditional approach to shopping before the advent of ICT technology that has given rise to the online shopping experience. For example, McCann (1996) in his article reports that a survey conducted by Deloittes, a city firm, states that a large proportion of the population viewed high street shopping as “a chore to be avoided at all costs”. The survey further shows that this view on high street shopping is held by 55% of the population under the age of 34 years. This empirical evidence showcases the new trend of shopping in our modern day. This research also seeks to highlight factors that influence why people shop online, such as the consumer adoption of new self-service technologies and internet shopping (Dabholkar 2002). Davis (1993) seeks to advocate that consumers’ view and inclination towards online shopping depends primarily, on the ‘direct effects of relevant online shopping features. Several external factors still play a part in influencing a consumers’ choice to shop online and these include consumer traits which change from time to time and season to season (Burke, 2002), situational factors such as trends and personal circumstances and also economic circumstance (Avery, 1996), characteristics of the product can also be a factor of influence as it may be cheaper to buy a product online and have it delivered to a home and save on transportation from the shop if the customer used personal transport (Grewal et al, 2002), past online shopping experience may have been favourable which will help in making more online purchases (Shim et al, 2001), and finally the consumer having faith in online shopping (Yoon, 2002). All of the above mentioned exogenous factors in the addition to the basic factors that determine a consumers’ attitude and desire to use the internet, makes it fall under the purview of online shopping context which is what the research aims to express. These factors deeply influence and affect consumer attitude towards carrying out online shopping and provides a guide to understanding the nature of the consumer and their desire to tend towards the online shopping experience over the high street shopping experience.
One author, Murray (2006) suggests that shop staff often encroach on the privacy of shoppers who want to quietly shop in peace without frequent any disturbance from over-zealous shop assistants who molest customers with annoying questions like ‘do you need help?’. He goes further to say that most retailers also resort to playing music in shops which is too loud and also the long queues at checkouts can be seen and perceived as irritable to a wide range of customers. This is in contrast to the serenity and sanity that the internet affords consumers, and also the need to travel all the way down to shops is avoided and cost is saved (Murray, 2006). The in-depth analysis of the benefits and barriers of the two interesting themes of online shopping and high street shopping will be examined. Each mode of shopping will be objectively assessed and a conclusion will be drawn as to the best method of shopping. But it should be noted that the internet does not necessarily need to replace high street stores. This is because there will always be the need for customers to have variety and at certain times when purchasing unique goods, the sense of physical touch, taste and smell may be required to make an informed. Some may argue differently however, in order to have a balanced viewpoint; examining both sides will give deeper insight into the research. High street shopping will definitely complement online shopping and vice versa in their operational and demographical scope. Whichever way the consumer’s decide to go, the economy ultimately benefits.
To define internet/online shopping
To define high street/traditional shopping
To analyse the effect of online shopping on high street shopping
To review the benefits of high street shopping
To review the benefits of online shopping
To review the barriers of high street shopping
To review the barriers of online shopping
To undertake an analysis of the current trends in online shopping and high street shopping
To analyse the online shopping models with the high street shopping models
To demonstrate the practical application of the research results
The Key research problem of this study is simply how to determine the impact of online shopping on high street shops and also to determine if online shoppers are affected or changed from the high street shopping experience because of the following factors: gender, disability, age or just simply shopping online for convenience and deals.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Nazir et al (2012:487) reason that the online shopping advent and increased popularity of the internet has created a dynamic and convenient way as to how people shop which is different from the traditionally classically recognised way and mode of shopping. Consumers no longer need to wait for shops to open at a specific time which can be restrictive and time wasting. Now, consumers can virtually shop at any time and any place they want in order to purchase products and services which is a time saving method. The internet has grown to be the new avenue for people to communicate and exchange information, goods, and services and has become a constant of our daily living and without it we may not survive no in modern times. The number of people using the internet is increasing by the day so also the number of people now changing to purchasing products online. According to Corc (2010) retailers establish stores on the internet which allows them to expand their market, reach bigger demographics and reach new consumers and also reach out people who may not wish to visit the high street stores for their purchases due to diverse reasons. The convenience shopping online provides is the primary reason why consumers shop online.
High street shopping
Information and Communications Technology ICT
According to Schaupp and Belanger (2005) ‘the ability to measure the level of customer satisfaction with online shopping is essential in gauging the success and failure of e-commerce. To do so, Internet businesses must be able to determine and understand the values of their existing and potential customers’. Online shopping has several factors that give it an edge over the traditional high street shopping. Factors like convenience, time saving, ability to compare prices of products and features, ability to compare different products by different retailers at the same time, and also goods can be found easily that may not be available in a high street store (Rajneesh et al 2010). Convenience can include ‘convenience includes the overall ease of findings a product, time spent on shopping and minimisation of overall shopping effort’ (Schaupp and Belanger, 2005). Rajneesh (2010) continues by saying that the consumer is saved much effort when shopping online in terms time saving by not going to the store in person, selecting desired products, queuing, parking, avoiding going out in bad weather, saving on gas, and avoiding contact with other people when solitude is need for shopping. Also, consumers when shopping online are able to compare prices of different products being offered different reailers without having to visit all the stores in order to do so. Lokken et al (2003) posits that consumers can shop anytime of the day without any geographic restriction. ‘Online shopping also provides consumers an ability to browse an infinite variety of products transcending geographical, national and cultural boundaries. Moreover, online shopping has an added advantage for working women as they do not have to drag their kids to malls and stores for shopping. The only basic requirement a customer needs for doing online shopping is availability of Internet access and credit card’ (Rajneesh, 2012).
Benefits of Online shopping
Benefits of high street shopping
Barriers of online shopping
Barriers of high street shopping
Research methodology literature
Presentation of results
SECONDARY AND PRIMARY RESEARCH FINDINGS
ANALYSIS, EVALUATION AND DISCUSSION
Before the advent and boom of online shopping, consumers did their research at home before going to high street shops to buy whatever products they needed. According to Emily (2012) ”infact more often than not, once the customer walked in the door, they were ready to buy’. In the modern day of shopping, the trend has changed. Customers now carry out research in stores as well as outside the store and the actual buying of the product takes place anytime and anywhere online. Retailers influence over consumers have been whittled down within their own ‘”bricks & mortar” environment (Emily, 2012).
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