Monday, March 30, 2009

Consumer Confidence with Online Shopping

Consumer Confidence With Online Shopping – On
the Rise Every Year!

The earliest years of e-commerce were met with more than a little suspicion and the pioneering retailers on the Internet were slow to develop customer following because consumers, for the most part not terribly savvy about the workings of the Internet yet, simply didn’t completely trust the technology. Consumer confidence with online shopping took a few years to take off.

Shopping online seemed risky and they weren’t willing to risk sending their credit card or personal information “into the ether” for fear that it would be stolen in transit and used by an unauthorized individual. Visions of the now famous commercial (a middle-aged man with a paunch talking in a giggly Valley-girl squeal about buying a leather bustier) danced through shoppers’ heads. So who’s shopping online?

As banks and credit card companies began assuring consumers of credit protection services, more and more consumer spending trickled into the Net market place. The rise of Secure Sockets Layer servers (SSL) provided added protection that also protected shopper information and buying online began to seem less risky. Online retailers, seeing that consumers needed a sense of security, acknowledged this with opt-in offerings rather than forcing consumers to provide some types of information.

When consumers could choose not to sign up for newsletters or updates and decline to be on mailing lists, they began to feel in control of their online shopping experiences. For Net merchants, this was the vote of confidence they’d been waiting for. By 2003, the Internet had racked up over $52 billion in retail sales!

Retailers Turn to Internet Savvy Home Webmasters

Retailers soon realized that with this influx of sales online there was a new and unique marketing paradigm being created. Confidence was high, Net surfers were in a shopping mood, and advertisers wanted to sell. But how and where to reach the millions of people that were on the Internet every day that had such enormous purchasing power?

LinkShare and Commission Junction were two companies who saw the potential in matching up advertisers with webmasters to the benefit of both. With millions of small, medium and large websites available that catered to special interests from extreme sports to Victorian collectables, partnerships only made sense.

It was the beginning of pay-for-performance marketing partnerships, and was a boon to people looking for a way to work from home and make a good living. By offering guidance and monitoring the process, including collecting all commissions and paying the webmasters with one monthly check, these companies simplified web marketing to consumers for both retailers and website publishers.

Website publishers could work from home publishing a site about a topic they were passionate about and collect income simply by linking to retailers who targeted consumers who fit their profile niche. It guaranteed the retailers they would be seen by consumers interested in buying their products and provided income to the webmasters.

Interestingly, many Internet users felt a sense of trust when they found links to retailers on sites they visited for other purposes. For instance if they visited a gardening website for tips on treating roses or a home improvement website for information on how to refinish a cabinet, they tended to trust any stored linked from these “advice” style websites. Retailers like Home Depot knew loyalty to these styles of sites was strong and responded. Today, nearly every Fortune 500 company in the U.S. has links to millions of affiliate websites to take advantage of that Internet loyalty and build a purchasing relationship on it.

Looking to the future, as more and more consumers turn to shopping in the Internet for its convenience and safety, working at home on your PC will become an option that’s more common as retailers make increasing use of affiliate websites for their advertising needs.


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