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The Uncertainties Of Online Marketing And Buying

Apr 11, 2008
Business always comes with risks. These risks are for both consumer and marketer. However, some people still conduct business despite these risks because there are ways to mitigate them. It just depends on the person wishing to do business.

The presence of the Internet has afforded businessmen an avenue to easily market products to a wider audience than before. Even small businesses have jumped at the newfound opportunity of having to do business with people around the world. However, marketing through the Internet still has its risks which both the seller and the buyer must be aware of.

So what are the risks that one can expect from the act of doing commerce using the Internet?

One of the most significant risks associated with e-commerce that most buyers are apprehensive of is the fact that they are exposed to threats to their privacy. In e-commerce, buyers have to provide sensitive details including their home address and their credit card/bank account numbers to the online dealer.

There are unfortunate incidents of a number of companies being caught red-handed selling their customers' information to other companies. There are, however, some companies that buy information from users themselves with their consent. As part of their business, they give the users the option to withdraw the rights to their information that they have sold to company. However, even with this, users do not have the guarantee that their data has indeed been deleted from the database and that the company has not made any backups of the information so they could continue selling it to other companies.

This concern affects both the consumer and the seller. This is because the seller's credibility is held at stake. If a user deems a seller untrustworthy to keep such information secret, then chances are, this user as well as others will not want to do business with such a seller.

One inherent uncertainty regarding online buying is the lack of guarantee for the user that they will receive exactly what they bought and in good order. This is because they don't have the capacity to perform pre-buy testing of the product like they do when buying through conventional channels.

What is Being Done to Address These Issues

One of the measures being taken to address and ease users' issues about online marketing is the encryption of private data that the user enters into the merchant site's database. Since it is encrypted - done using a cipher or a digital key - the data cannot be accessed by anyone except the user, or a person having an authorization from the company to read the information.

Online merchant sites eBay and Amazon also have features that allow buyers to post comments about the product and the seller itself in order to ease some other users' concerns about the credibility of the merchant. Feedbacks also provide users an insight as to how the product would work when it is shipped to their homes after purchase. They also include a return policy just in case there are problems encountered by the user after receiving the item.
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