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This 39 message thread spans 2 pages: 39 ( [1] 2 > >     
Fear - A Primary Reason For The Decline In Sales
Survey indicates 25% of those polled have stopped buying online

 12:40 pm on Oct 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

From Wired News
As identity theft has grown, so has fear of being victimized through high-tech means. A new study finds some computer users are cutting back on time spent surfing the internet. Some have also stopped buying altogether on the web.




 12:53 pm on Oct 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I wonder where they got their data?

Our e-commerce sites are showing steady growth in sales and customers. A bit less that a few years ago but growth just the same.


 2:07 pm on Oct 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Convenience will outweigh the "Doom Sayers"..
News isn't news unless it's sensationalized..

We've seen steady growth every year, and this holiday season is forecast to be much stronger than last year....

When will the curve plateau? Who knows..

The web gives us access to unique products from all over the world, and the convenience of shopping in our underwear. Compare that to the glut of the same "chain stores" in every mall in the US, fighting crowds, parking, etc...


 2:29 pm on Oct 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hmm. Must be for every one that's too afraid to shop online anymore, three more are starting to shop online:


According to the US Census, ecommerce has grown at about three times the rate of brick-and-mortar retail in the first two quarters of 2005.


 2:30 pm on Oct 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Heard that on some national news program yesterday, too. From the web's earliest days, just about everything the press says about the internet has been wrong. From time to time, TV warns about obscure killer computer viruses that turn out to affect almost no one. They miss reporting on the real threats. Pfishing got little attention early on.

Internet stocks have done well lately, tho Amazon just had a weak quarter.

But, Pfishing IS a real problem for newbies. I have no doubt that ID theft fear is scaring some. I wouldn't want to turn over a computer (and credit card) to grandma these days.


 2:39 pm on Oct 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

One bit of personal info consumers aren't giving out is their email address. We're collecting those at 1/3 the rate of several years ago. That is a problem for us. Email marketing was once highly profitable. Now we must advertise more with costly PPC.


 6:52 pm on Oct 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think it's an accurate assessment. What is equally true is that the consumer is getting smarter. There will always be those who fall prey to the easy phishing scams, etc., but many more who are learning what they need to not only survive on the web, but to function with the same ease as if walking down a city street.


 5:39 am on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I was wondering if using a service like Hacker Safe actually makes customers feel more comfortable about making a purchase? On their site they have testimonials saying conversions went up anywhere from 12-22%.

Does anyone have any experience using a service like this to address consumers security concerns? I wonder if the average user would even know what it means if my site was verified by Hacker Safe.



 10:39 am on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)


Some hinted "do not mention hackers on your site while customer is about to make a purchase", what "Hacker Safe" actually does.

See for example an earlier discussion here:


 11:05 am on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I was looking at some graphs yesterday that charted our online sales vs our phone in sales. Interestingly enough, the phone in sales have remained constant, while the online has slowly declined. Maybe more consumers want to make sure that the website is not just a front for an illegitimate operation, so they call the 800 number?

BTW, our main focus of selling -wholesale- has steadily increased so that may have some impact to online sales. But then why has retail call in not dropped?

Just some personal observations.


 12:36 pm on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Consumer Reports WebWatch - the author of the study deliberatly (as all journalists do) chooses subjects where they know they can get a controversial or headline making result.

Run a study asking if people are concerned about internet security and you can virtually guarantee a "Surfers Panic about Online Theft" headline.

Its easy journalisim.


 1:35 pm on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't doubt that there are people who are afraid. However...

A new study finds some computer users are cutting back on time spent surfing the internet. Some have also stopped buying altogether on the web.

Why not give the exact number of "some users"? It could be only 8 out of the 1,500 for all we know. Sketchy reporting, IMHO.

[edited by: mona at 1:40 pm (utc) on Oct. 28, 2005]


 1:39 pm on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

There's no long term fear - todays teenagers aren't afraid of the internet - and in a few years they'll be spending.


 2:11 pm on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

True longen, and these teenagers (and the current consumers) are becoming more and more tech savvy and much more aware of scams/phishing/etc.
I would expect to see the online market keep growing steadily along with the size and value of orders.

Out of interest, is anyone selling primarily 'high value' (> $1000) items on the 'net and what trends are you seeing?


 2:30 pm on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I believe that in the US the issue of identity theft is gaining increasing awareness amongst the general public. I know that people are increasingly conscious of credit card #'s, Social Security #'s and other personal identifiers.

Whether this is spilling over into e-com I could not say. Will it? I would say most definitely, at least at some level.

I suspect that this is an issue that will gain additional importance over the next year or two. We may see the development of new methods (ar at least new marketing) to insure protection from ID theft.



 2:54 pm on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)


We have a jewelry retailer as a client, specializing in engagement rings/wedding sets. Average purchase is $2,500, 90% of their biz online...

Almost all orders are finalized on the phone, but consumer trust is obviously not an issue.

Jewelry is a unique vertical though, as diamond quality is very subjective, and brick and mortar jewelers have taken a lot of heat lately, as 3rd party diamond rating services have been found to not be reliable on the true market value of stones.

That said, our client, uses this to their advantage, with hundreds of referral statements on their site, and better communication through email during the selection/build process than any brick and mortar jeweler offers.


 3:08 pm on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Many of our products are over $1000 and we've mainly seen an upward growth in sales. However we have seen the patterns in fraud shift dramatically, especially over the last month. Identity theft-based attempts have rocketed, and an especially interesting trend is that the attempts seem to have moved away from the internet and onto our sales line. The fraudsters literally call up to place the order. I don't know if this is because they think that orders placed by staff will be given a higher level of trust etc?

Identity theft-based attempts are also getting smarter - the fraudsters do their research well. One even knew the name of the victim's wife, probably from the UK electoral roll, but didn't know the child's name.

There's definitely a war going on at the moment, and I think its up to retailers to be smart to both survive and maintain the trust of the consumer. I don't think shopping online is going to see a massive impact in the years to come, but it will see some, and IMHO combining the convenience of browsing the internet to find the product that you're interested in, and allowing customers to call a cheap-rate number if they have any doubts or concerns, is the best way to go.

Oh, and of course, having a fraud system and fraud dept that is ahead of the fraudsters! ;-D


 3:50 pm on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

We have noticed an increase in sales for lower ticket items, while items over $1000.00 have remained level. We added the Hacker Safe logo around a year ago and saw a 7% increase in sales within days.
I agree with the fact that the media is doing their usual of blowing things out of proportion. They attempt to create trends so they will have something to report on later. Most of the time the stats they use are just plain wrong.


 4:02 pm on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hacker Safe? I don't want that word on our site. More people lose CC info in restaurants and stores. Does Niemann Marcus have a Hacker Safe sticker next to their jewelry counter? :)

When you have a $200 meal in Manhattan, does the waiter wear a button on his tux saying: "I won't rip you off...sir"?

However we do all sorts of things to engender trust. We mention that we're an old established Brick/Mortar company. We invite customers to visit us. Most of all, we prominently show our #800 and invite phone in orders AND calls for info.

If people were scared (and they SHOULD be a bit concerned about threats), we'd expect to see more phone orders. But I don't think we are.


 5:33 pm on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Concern about privacy & ID theft? Sure, we'd all say yes to some degree. Is ecom going to die anytime soon? Hardly.

One of my recent ecomm projects has an average sale of about $500. We've got a live chat option but no phone number on the site. It's been really interesting for me to occasionally work the live chat and interact with customers in the buying process.

I've seen a surprising number of older buyers who state that they've never bought anything on the web before. That's encouraging. There's the occasional question about "how secure" is the order but almost all those asking end up placing an order. Also have people asking for a phone number to place the order but, again, almost all those who ask that question end up placing an order online.


 5:59 pm on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think a lot of people in this thread are merchants? I'm an affiliate and this is a great business to be in. Online spending will only continue to go up each year. You always see articles about this and somebody posting them. It would be like me predicting each year the the U.S. population is going to increase again this year. Of course it is, same with ecommerce. Each year we have people getting their first computer, getting online for the first time, buying stuff online the first time and that will just continue to go up. And like what's already been mentioned, the generation coming up now is a very tech savvy generation who know their way around computers and will have no problem spending their money online. It's a beautiful thing :)


 6:00 pm on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Re: popular press writing about the web. Nowadays, you'd think from Fox and other news outlets that 99% of the web is about Blogs. My guess is the reality is .0001%


 8:27 pm on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think sales have been hurt some by all the negative publicity surrounding identity theft, but Internet usage is still growing at a rapid pace and new folks are going to want to try out the Internet and they are not going to be in as much fear as people that have been around for awhile that have caught viruses and have seen some of the bad neighborhoods, first hand.

Also, when you read negative stuff about the Internet in magazines, newspapers and see it on the television news, they do have a financial interest in keeping Internet growth in check. That interest is their own advertising revenue base. Sure most of these companies have a web site, but their main profits still come from their old fashion advertising models and the Internet is considered competition for those ad dollars.

Anything they can do to slow down Internet growth is good news for their own bottom line.


 10:06 pm on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I dont see a decline in sales from fear of the net or identity theft. People are always going to choose the easy option. I dont want to work all day and then fight my way to the mall. I prefer to open a bottle of St. Emillion and curl up by the log fire and surf the net for stuff (phew its pretty hot here).

You know who is really living in fear - newspaper proprietors and all those media people who are losing out to the web.

Boo! That'll scare 'em.


 1:04 am on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

MarkHutch good point. The press generating propaganda to protect their profit stream.


 1:57 am on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Agree with the statements about sensationalism and FUD.

If the comparison shopping sites are any barometer, things have cooled off a bit from 100% growth YTY, but it is still healthy.

There is no widespread trend of less online purchasing. 25% growth rates (vasries by category) seems to the accepted guidance.


Peter Cornstalk

 4:23 am on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

FUD is good for the people that are spewing it. Identity theft scares are great for the card banks that are trying to sell all that extra protection.

I have no problem with online sales really because I put BBB logo, D&B logo, SSL safe and secure logo on my site. I also fully disclose my address and phone numbers. We do not try to hid from the phone like many Internet companies do and do sells and customer service by phone. I also have a match on my whois info addresses so it matches the business address. We also use an identity thing that comes with the SSl so you can easily see if the URL is being spoofed or not.

I want buy that "Hacker Safe" thing because it shounds retarded... why would I want my website to be safe for hackers. :) I can easily make a button in PSP and put Hacker Resistant or something on my website without spending $1500 a year.


 12:59 pm on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Personally, I use the web to locate supplies, gifts, and items.

I rarely use a websites shopping cart unless it is a known, reputable business. I usually look up the 800 number and order it using the information from the website.

I also use only one credit card for internet purchases that has a capped credit limit to prevent fraud.

I have learned that there are many unscrupulous websites that will take your money and not deliver.

Calling the online store helps me verify that the item is in stock and that if there is a problem with the order, I can actually talk to someone about it.

Example - <The old 'its on back order' routine when the website says the item is in stock and we charged your credit card anyway.>

Many online stores do not have email's nor contact information easily viewable. That is the first red flag I look for.


 2:22 pm on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yeah, no address listed is a dead giveaway. Yesterday I found a supplier of a very expensive item and was perusing their site. Seemed okay. Prices were pretty low but not ridiculous. Then I looked at how to order and found this: "We do not list our address or phone number because we are located in public housing and have to keep our business secret for safety reasons." That was my laugh of the day.

I know that most cc fraud comes from restaurants and such, but I have been really disturbed by the reports in the past couple of years about hackers getting into databases of payment processors. I am just glad that most of my customers do not understand the significance of that fact.


 7:30 pm on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

... FUD is good for the people that are spewing it.

agreed, but it works on my wife.

she'll buy books from Amazon.com but THAT's IT!

she's a'scared of the intarweb.

oddly enough she gets most of her business from it....

This 39 message thread spans 2 pages: 39 ( [1] 2 > >
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