Convenience from online shopping is undeniable; however, privacy threats are also unaddressed.
The rise of E-commerce has brought a lot of benefits for not only consumers but also businesses. To complete the online purchasing transaction, buyers have to submit their personal data so the merchants can store it. That’s when tracking technologies are in place to collect the information. This leads to the raising concern towards privacy among online buyers whether their private information is confidentially stored or shared with other parties.
(Source: Tmo Group)
It is obvious to feel annoyed and angry when our private information being kicked around like a football game. However, if we don’t want to share our buying interest with others, we have to go directly to the store. This unwillingness contributes to the development of E-commerce as well as the scarification of online privacy.
Although privacy is a big concern, the convenience from online shopping seems to outweigh it. The truth reveals that consumers won’t stop buying online products because of that (Enright, 2012). They worry, but they still purchase.
Actually, the consumers also have benefits from sharing their buying interest by receiving more relevant ads. According to Fiegerman (2012), 61% of online shoppers would trade privacy for personalized ads and they are quite comfortable knowing that their favorite brands are tracking their behavior to offer future purchase. This indicates trust between the sellers and the buyers. A research from Shah et al (2013) reveals that consumers are more likely to trust websites or brands that state clearly what they are going to do with consumers’ private information. Another reason to trust a brand/website is because of its recognition.
For big and trustworthy brands, this is a huge advantage for both consumers and business. However, what is the situation if your private information is shared with a third party that you don’t even know when purchasing on a strange shopping website? Then, the privacy issue is really matter. Although consumers still can receive relevant promotion ads from various brands through Google and Facebook, the threat of identity thief is bigger.
Purchasing online of course requires online money transaction. One reason that consumers are afraid of online shopping is due to the fear of losing private information including credit card number, home and email address (Arlington, 2007). Consequently, besides credit card paying, some shopping websites such as Hotdeal and Tiki now offer cash paying with free delivery service directly to buyers’ house.
As a result, here are some advice on how to secure your private information and prevent identity thief from online shopping.
- Keep your computer safe – make sure you get the last updated anti-virus and spyware software.
- Only shop at websites you trust – Research that website before you make an order; if the website address is https://, not http://, it means the web is secured.
- Make copies of your orders
- Frequently check your credit card
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Arlington V.A., 2007, ‘Privacy Issues and ID Theft are Top Concerns of Online Shoppers, According to New Survey by BBB: BBB Offers Advice for a Safe Holiday Shopping Experience’, Better Business Bureau, 20 November, viewed August 6 2014, http://www.bbb.org/us/article/privacy-issues-and-id-theft-are-top-concerns-of-online-shoppers-according-to-new-survey-by-bbb-bbb-offers-advice-for-a-safe-holiday-shopping-experience-2361.
Enright A., 2012, ‘Consumers worry about online privacy, but shop anyway’, Internet Retailer, May 11, viewed August 6 2014, http://www.internetretailer.com/2012/05/11/consumers-worry-about-online-privacy-shop-anyway.
Fiegerman S., 2012, ‘61% of Online Shoppers Would Trade Privacy for Personalization’, Mashable, November 21, viewed August 6 2014, http://mashable.com/2012/11/20/online-shopping-privacy-study/.
Shah M.H., Okeke R. & Ahmed R., 2013, ‘Issue of Privacy and Trust in E-Commerce: Exploring Customer’s Perspective’, Journal of Basic and Applied Scientific Research, Vol.3, No.3, pp.571-577.