Shopping is an integral part of a human life. Not long time ago, people could have an opportunity to visit shops or other places and buy something. Nowadays, online shopping becomes a successful alternative to ordinary shopping. People should know that the importance to search the information about shopping malls, shops, restaurants, and entertainment zones has been replaced by the possibility to focus on the ways of payment and shipment, customer information, the idea of customer support, product features, and security details.
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In this research proposal, I will discuss online shopping features and the details customers have to be aware of in order not to become deceived, screwed, or confused with the opportunities offered. Background information on online shopping will be presented, and the way on how to succeed in online shopping will be discussed.
This project is based on the combination of primary and secondary research including online shopping facts DMC students are already aware of and the information they want to know more on this topic. A mixed-method research framework in the form of interviews and questionnaires will be used to gather the opinions, and the review of the literature helps to clarify the standards of online shopping.
In this project, the following research questions will be discussed:
- What do DMC students know about online shopping?
- Do DMC students prefer online shopping over other types of shopping?
- What does it mean to plan shopping?
- What are the details of online shopping DMC students should be aware of?
- What kind of information should be shared by online shoppers?
Definitions of Terms
Online shopping – is the act of purchasing services or products via the Internet (BusinessDictionary, n.d.).
- E-commerce – is a general term to cover an existing variety of online business activities, buying, selling, conducting transactions, etc. with the help of electronic communications and digital information processing technologies (Mohapatra, 2012).
- Customer – is a person who buys services or goods (English Oxford living dictionaries n.d.).
- Product – is an item or a service that is offered for sale and gains a physical, virtual, or cyber form (The economic times, n.d.).
It is hard to imagine this life even without an idea of buying food, things, clothes, services, and other important issues. People analyze their current situations and choose the methods that are appropriate for them at the moment. Sometimes, it is beneficial to make a planned purchase by visiting actual shops, restaurants, shopping malls, entertainment zones, etc. Customers have to investigate the available places and make a decision.
However, the investigations prove that shopping turns out to be something of the national past time in the UAE (“Shopping”, n.d.). Nowadays, tourists are more interested in the idea of “real” shopping in comparison to the citizens of the Middle East. The peculiar feature of plan shopping is the necessity to choose a plan that should be visited. A good plan is a way to get protected from shopping addiction (Nyakundi & Davidson, 2015).
To take this step, a person has to understand what products are required. Potential customers have to decide if they are in need of a shopping mall, ordinary shops, restaurants, or entertainment zones. Each place has its own characteristics and contains a number of decisions to be made. Online shopping is the alternative that attracts the attention of many people (Suen, 2013). This kind of shopping occurs in the online environment where customers have to interact with retailers by means of websites and forums that introduce the basis of the information system (Luo, Ba, & Zang, 2012).
How People Make Purchases
The processes of making purchases online and in person differ considerably. Braff (2014) investigates the question of whether it is necessary or even beneficial to buy online or in person and cannot give one definite question. There are as many opinions as many people worldwide. The point is that nowadays shopping comes down to more than just making a purchase (Braff, 2014). Several years ago, it was enough to choose a shop in regards to personal demands (Mohapatra, 2012) and investigate appropriate locations, parking details, the presence/absence of public transport.
Nowadays, people want to know more about their options, save their time, and choose an item among the existing variety of options (Mohapatra, 2012). People, especially young customers, want to be in the know for their favorite products and the system of discounts they could choose from (Suen, 2013). They find it enough to create an account online with the required email, phone number, and name, choose a payment method, clarify the details of the shipment, investigate the product in regards to its quality, price, and quantity, and analyze personal security (Mohapatra, 2012). The process of making purchases online becomes as easy as it has never been before.
Threats and Benefits of Online Shopping
However, the existing variety of options and an easy process of shopping contain a number of positive and negative aspects. On the one hand, it is beneficial to buy a product online when a customer knows the reputation of a retailer and can read the information about the product (TV, Smartphone, iPad, etc.) online (Braff, 2014). On the other hand, online shopping should be secure, and customers have to be confident that they download safe information, and their accounts cannot be tracked (Suen, 2013).
Customer services have to be organized in a certain way so that customers should be satisfied with the offers and the conditions under which they could buy a product or a service (Luo, Ba, & Zhang, 2012). Customers are in need of support and explanations in case they decide to make a purchase online for the first time. It is hard for people to stop checking the quality of products in person and start trusting outside sources (Nyakundi & Davidson, 2015). Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the peculiar features of online shopping and prove that this kind of commerce is safe and appropriate for modern people.
Proposal for Research
Importance of Research
I think that the chosen topic is important for the DMC students and the UAE citizens because the current situation in the Gulf region includes the importance of online shopping and its development regarding the technological process, the development of international relations, and the intentions of people to save their time and find as many opportunities as possible.
In terms of this research project, it is necessary to find out what DMC students know about online shopping, how they make a decision about their next purchase, and what their personal experience with online shopping is. Still, it is not enough to describe the opinions of people but also to make the conclusions about the main steps of online shopping and the information that should be covered when a person want to buy something online.
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This project should consist of two types of research. First, primary research should help to gather the opinions of students. Primary information proves the importance of the chosen topic and the necessity to develop a powerful methodological framework. In this research project, a mixed type of methodological framework that is based on qualitative and quantitative methods will be used.
A questionnaire is the main quantitative method with the help of which it is possible to gather the facts on the chosen topic and prove that the theme is worth of the investigation. Questionnaires consist of several questions that should be answered with the help of a Likert scale (i.e. Strongly Agree, Neutral, or Strongly Disagree). Students should share their opinions, and a researcher could count the answers in order to decide whether students could be a credible source of information. As a rule, these questionnaires could be sent to students via emails with a clear description of why their participation in the project is important for academic research. As soon as a certain number of answers are gathered, and the numeric facts are underlined, it is expected to deal with the quality.
An interview is the main qualitative method that presupposes a direct communication with people and identifying their opinions on the topic under discussion. It is important to clarify the ethical aspects of communication and inform the participants about the possibility to use their answers for academic purposes. This method helps to understand what people think about online shopping and if customers are satisfied with the conditions under which they could make purchases online. Besides, interviews could show if customers know about the details of online shopping and the type of information they should share with online retailers.
The success of this method is based on the necessity to develop several open-ended and close-ended questions before the actual interviewing process. Still, a researcher should also be ready to support the discussion in case the answers of the participants should be clarified. The questionnaires and interviews with 20 college students from different age groups can help to learn more what the UAE citizens think about online purchases and what expectations they have in regards to this kind of activity.
Secondary research is the type of work that has to be developed on the basis of library search and web surfing. The statistical data from credible sources could be introduced to prove that a number of people are already involved in online shopping, and the number of online purchases continues increasing day by day. Secondary research is a chance to investigate what other researchers think on the chosen topic.
Main Research Questions
In this project, there is one main research question that should be answered:
- What should students and the citizens of the UAE know about online shopping and its peculiarities to succeed in this kind of activity?
This main question should be divided into three sub-questions:
- How does the development of shopping activities occur?
- What should people know about plan shopping?
- What are the details of online shopping and the information customers have to introduce when they want to buy a product?
Braff, D. (2014). Buying online versus in the store. Chicago Tribune. Web.
Customer. (n.d.). In English Oxford living dictionaries. Web.
Luo, J., Ba, S., & Zhang, H. (2012). The effectiveness of online shopping characteristics and well-designed websites on satisfaction. MIS Quarterly, 36(4), 1-9.
Mohapatra, S. (2012). E-commerce strategy: text and cases. New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media.
Nyakundi, C.T. & Davidson, J. (2015). Simple steps to help you overcome shopping addiction. Mendon, Utah: Mendon Cottage Books.
Online shopping. (n.d.). In BusinessDictionary. Web.
Product. (n.d.). In The economic times.Web.
Shopping. (n.d.). UAEinteract. Web.
Suen, A. (2013). Downloading and online shopping safety and privacy. New York, NY: The Rosen Publishing Group.