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Customers Attitude Towards E-Shopping in Pakistan: A Case Study of Sukkur.

Byline: Dr. Muneer Ali Shah Rizvi and Faiz.M.Shaikh

Abstract

This paper analyses and examines consumer attitudes towards Internet based e- shopping in Pakistan and with special reference to Sukkur. It aims to provide a theoretically and empirically grounded initial reference position, against which later research can explore and interpret the effects of changes in variables representing consumer preferences and shifts in these preferences on the success or failure of B2C and B2B e-commerce over Internet in Pakistan, in Sukkur specially. These patterns have been measured and collected by numerous independent marketing, business and even academic studies to understand how consumers connect with new technology. With the advent of the Internet and its related technologies as a new vehicle for commerce, new models have developed. This paper lays the groundwork with brief introduction of recent trends in e-commerce/M-commerce on people in Sukkur.

It will also delve into favorable as well as negative website characteristics and sum up the favorable elements into a description of an e-commerce website in Sukkur market. As the development of Internet technology, e-commerce has become more and more important to modern enterprises in recent years. Therefore, e-commerce models have been paid more attentions but the area like Sukkur and even in Pakistan still facing so many problems regarding the consumer behavior especially in remote area like Sukkur (Pakistan).

Key Words, Online Retailing, E-commerce, technology, e-consumer behavior, e-shopping intention

Research Objectives

Explore a range of additional issues related to consumer perspectives on e-commerce.

To examine the behavior of consumers towards online shopping; with special reference to Pakistani market and analyze the future of online shopping in Sukkur or Pakistan.

Paper Type: Conceptual paper.

Introduction:

The study of e-consumer behavior is gaining importance due to the proliferation of online shopping. The Internet has revolutionized many aspects of our lives. We use the Internet for communication (chat and email), news, scientific research, ticket booking, and even marriage. One of the activities that have changed in the light of the Internet is shopping. On the other hand issue and behavior or attitude of consumers here in Pakistan and specially in Sukkur were seen over the time Having kept in mind some data for target sample (aged 25 to 35) in Pakistan or Sukkur we will start our study for better understanding.

External Factors for Pakistan

Total populations###170.6 million

Literacy rate###46.6 percent of adult Pakistanis were literate

Educational institute###130 universities for target sample

Knowledge and awareness of EC###85%

Trends in purchasing behavior towards EC 19%

GDP and per capita###$451.972 billion and 2713 Rs

External Factors for Sukkur City

Total populations in city###750,000-800,000

Literacy rate for city###62%

Educational institute###31 main and total 63

Knowledge and awareness###For target sample 85%

Trends in purchasing behavior 9%

Internal Factors for Sukkur Citizens for Online Behavior

Income###2000 to 20000 Rs for physical shopping in a month

Access of internet###69%

Knowledge and awareness###77%

Trends in purchasing behavior 6%

Source: Wikipedia.com

Current Situation of E-Commerce Development

The accelerating process of economic globalization makes information exchange and communication frequent, which not only has profound impact on people's way of life, but it also has fundamental impact on business models. According to recent statistics, the total number of Internet users in Pakistan has exceeded 34 million, and Pakistan has become the 6th largest market in Asia. And as far as Sukkur is concerned it is going through a growing phase.

Methodology:

Nature of the study is exploratory and to some extent will also be descriptive in nature. Both primary and secondary data has been used in the study. Secondary data sources were used to gain a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the e-commerce market in Pakistan. Inputs related to the internet users in Pakistan, and segment-wise users of internet in India etc. have been taken. Secondary data is collected from academic journals and text books for literature review and internet whereas primary data is collected by executing a field survey and personal interviews with the subjects. Non-probability approach of sampling is used in the study and subjects are selected by using convenience and judgment sampling methods. Collected data is analyzed by using appropriate statistical methods. Frequency distribution tables and pie charts and bar diagrams are used to present and compare the findings and interpreting the results.

Methodology Phases

We developed a four-phase process to acquire the understanding we sought:

* Phase 1: Snapshot of Consumer Attitudes

* Phase 2: Secondary Research

* Phase 3: Interviews

* Phase 4: Quantitative Evaluation

How the Field Survey was Conducted:

A set of 09 questions were prepared before interviews commenced. All the questions pertained exclusively to the subject of online shopping. Prepared questions in the survey mixed between closed-ended questions to open-ended questions, which required more elaboration of sample member 's online experience and perceptions of electronic purchasing.

1. How often do they shop online?

2. What are the reasons for buying online?

3. What are they buying online?

4. Describe their experience of buying online?

5. What sites do they visit?

6. What important factors go into buying from an online purveyor?

7. What qualities do you look for in an online retailer?

8. What website elements do they look for?

9. How can e-commerce websites be improved?

For the purpose of study, the B2C e-commerce market was defined as buying and selling of products and services on the internet or on any other application that relies on the Internet. In other words, it comprises of transactions for which Internet acts as a medium for contracting or making payment or for consuming the service/product by the end consumer, who is an individual in Sukkur market.

To outline the current supply side industry, inputs were sought from key players operating in the B2C and C2C e-Commerce Industry, which was further divided into the following verticals:

1. Travel, comprising Travel aggregators, Tour Operators, Hotels and Railways

2. E-retailing, comprising Online Retailers and Online Auctions

3. Classifieds, comprising Online Jobs, Online Matrimony, Online Property, Online Automobile and General Classifieds

4. Paid Content Subscription, comprising research, articles, exclusive videos, etc

5. Digital Downloads, from Internet to Mobiles and internet the size of B2C e-Commerce Industry for the year 2009 was computed to be around Rs. 25 crores. The market is expected to reach the mark of Rs. 100 crores by the end of 2011, a growth of about 30% over the current year over all in Pakistan.

Online Travel Industry is the largest contributor to the B2C E-Commerce Industry, sized at Rs. 5 crores for the year 2009 and is expected to rise to Rs. 7 crores by the end of 2011 in Pakistan

E-retailing stands at Rs. 8 crores in the year 2009. It is expected to be Rs 10 crores industry at the end of 2011 Owing to elimination of physical costs, the category offers the best deals for low-end as well as high end products. However, many customers complain about the untimely delivery of products ordered online in Pakistan with main cities.

Online Classifieds is the second largest contributor to Online Non-Travel industry. The size of Online Classifieds was around Rs. 4 crores at the end of 2009. It is expected to rise to Rs. 7 crores by the end of 2011. Since, this segment is consumer-driven, it provides the users flexibility to access large database at the lower costs in remote area like Sukkur too.

The size of Online Subscription market is expected to grow by 50% from Rs. 2 crores in 2009 to Rs. 3 crores at end of 2011.

Along with the PC-based internet access, the mobile-based internet access is expected to drive the growth of 13C and C2C e-Commerce industry in the overall Pakistani cities. With the increase in the mobile subscribers, there has been a rise in digital downloads to the mobile phone. With the surge in mobile penetration and usage of GRPS enabled mobile handsets, the size of digital downloads market is expected to rise from Rs. 7 crores in 2009 to Rs. 11 crores at end of 2011.

Still Pakistani customer is shy to purchase over internet or online. They still need to get awareness or can be said still issues are there to be solved like security and ethics especially with Sukkur citizens aged 25 to 35.

E-retailing is thought as one of the fastest growing retailing forms taking convenience to an entire new level where a consumer can make a purchase from anywhere at any time, regardless of the nature of the product and the distance from the marketer or supplier. E-retailing is the process whereby consumers directly buy goods or services from a seller in real-time, without an intermediary service, over the internet.

An online shop, e-shop, e-store, internet shop, web-shop, web-store, online store, or virtual store; are a few common names analogous to online formats for shopping. These days on line retailing is attracting many customers in many countries and in some cases like Dell Computers, Amazon.com and e-bay has already established a remarkable success and world wide popularity. With the invention of new and advanced technology of Internet, many retailers have now moved towards the online retailing. Many of the retailers who perform their businesses primarily through physical stores, in addition have now added this new format of online retailing in their operations.

For example, Dell, Apple and many more companies serve their customers through both the modes Online retailing has already evolved and accepted at large in many developed countries such as United States, U.K. and Europe; but in PAKISTAN, it is still in the evolving phase in remote areas like Sukkur The present study is aimed with the basic objective of knowing the customer behavior towards E-retailing and the future prospects of this retail format in Pakistan and in Sukkur.

Since Internet has the ability to reach the customer's home; the Distribution Channel has started to assume new meaning to the B2C and C2C e-Marketer. The Physical delivery got converted to electronic delivery; physical products were now electronic products, displayed on a website. With options of paying online through debit and credit cards, even the transaction was purely electronic.

Online Retailing - Adoption, Requirements and Attitudes Ahead of television or catalogue shopping, Internet shopping, otherwise known as online retailing or e-tailing, represents the most rapidly emerging form of non-store retailing today. Current advancements and innovations within the field of non-store retailing have drastically escalated the pressures of competition endured by many traditional store retailers. Pure e-retailers (e.g. Amazon), in particular, that lack physical stores and promote and sell directly to customers via the Internet, pose a continual threat to traditional, store retailers by quickly penetrating global markets and seizing significant amounts of market share. When knowing who is more likely to do shopping via the Internet, researchers' results and opinions are mixed. Some argue that this is based upon certain demographic factors (e.g. age, income, education, etc.), others observed as though such factors are not nearly as significant as one's behavior towards technology.

Additionally, older users of the Internet generally prefer to shop online more so than younger users, even though younger users report greater hedonic and utilitarian advantages associated with it.

Usage of E-Commerce

According to the survey conducted among the Industry players, the E- Commerce Industry in Pakistan was worth Rs 100 crores at the end of 2011. Is it big enough? How much is it expected to grow?

The adoption and usage of E-Commerce in the country is a function of the overall environment for Internet usage in a country. To correctly understand the likely growth path for E-Commerce in Pakistan or in Sukkur it is imperative to understand the internet ecosystem in the country.

Some of the key variables that need to be understood are the proportion of

1. computer literates,

2. internet penetration,

3. frequency of access to the internet,

4. purpose of internet access etc.

A correct mapping of these would help understanding the overall framework of E-Commerce in the country.

The PC literate population is on a fast growth curve having grown 90% in 2007 over 2009. Though in Pakistan overall penetration is still low. The important factor is that a critical mass of users is shaping up which will fuel rapid growth over the next 3-4 years.

A Claimed or Ever Internet User is defined as one who has ever accessed internet.

As these internet users mature with respect to exposure and awareness of internet, they tend to spend more time online; access internet more frequently and surf non-communication based applications and advanced online applications like gaming, E-Commerce, etc. However, as it is evident from the charts below, E-Commerce is still not the key driver of the internet.

Thus, E-Commerce is surely being adopted by the internet users as a way to shop. They are buying a variety of products online and visiting various websites to buy products from. Given the rate of growth in E-Commerce users, size of the E-Commerce industry is expected to reach Rs. 125 crores at the end of 2012, a big jump of 30% over the current industry size.

Experiential Aspects of E-Shopping in Pakistan

For decades, retailers and researchers have been aware that shopping is not just a matter of obtaining tangible products but also about experience, enjoyment and entertainment.

Triggers and Barriers for the E-Commerce market in Pakistan

In addition to the industry size, it is imperative to understand the reasons behind the growth and reasons hampering the growth of E-Commerce industry in the country. This section elaborates the triggers and barriers that effect the adoption of E-Commerce by the Internet users

We would start by enlisting the triggers which motivate the online shoppers to buy products online.

Top 6 reasons given by shoppers in buying through Internet###Rank

Saves time and efforts###1

Convenience of shopping at home###2

Wide variety / range of products are available###3

Good discounts / lower prices###4

Get detailed information of the product###5

You can compare various models / brands###6

As evident from the table above, time saving is the major reason that drives Internet users to shop online. It is followed by convenience of any place, anytime shopping online.

Top 6concerns while buying online###Rank

Not sure of product quality###1

Cannot bargain/Negotiate###2

Not sure of security of transactions /Credit card misuse###3

Need to touch and feel the product###4

Significant discounts are not there###5

Have to wait for delivery###6

Absence of touch-feel-try creates concerns over the quality of the product on offer. Another roadblock in the way of E-Commerce is lack of interactivity so as to allow for negotiations between the buyer and sellers.

There is no doubt that Internet shopping has a number of benefits to offer. With changing lifestyles, E-Commerce is surely the most appealing and convenient means of shopping. However, the grave issues surrounding the market do not make it the "choice" of most of the Internet users. Addressing the above specified issues, thus, has become critical to expand beyond the current user base.

Categorization of Internet Users

According to the data of total 2 Million Active Internet Users in March 2006 (Source: I-Cube 2006), around 53% have looked for information on travel while 27% are likely to look for information on travel services online. Though, only 10% of the Internet Users have booked air tickets rail tickets or hotel rooms in last six months, only, 22% are likely to avail these services in the near future.

In I-Cube 2006, a survey done among internet users, details of products bought by them online in last 6 months were captured along with the details of products they are likely to look information for and the products they are likely to purchase. On analysis of the data, following trends were observed:

Category###Sub-Category###Looked for###Will look for###Bought in###Will buy in

###Information###Information###last 6###future

###months###

###Railway Tickets###31.62%###18.06%###8.25%###15.76%

Travel###Air Tickets###16.16%###7.13%###2.39%###5.21%

###Hotel Reservation###5.41%###1.46%###0.26%###0.99%

###TOTAL###53.19%###26.65%###10.90%###21.96%

###Ringtone Download###18.58%###11.04%###2.11%###8.11%

Digital###Games Download###13.55%###8.54%###1.78%###5.85%

Downloads###Music/Video Download###11.54%###5.96%###1.42%###4.31%

###Picture Messages/Wallpaper

###Download###8.28%###5.14%###0.34%###3.37%

###TOTAL###51.95%###30.68%###5.65%###21.64%

###Matrimonial Services###5.53%###2.16%###0.69%###1.34%

Classifieds###Jobs###7.77%###3.45%###0.95%###2.09%

###TOTAL###13.30%###5.61%###1.64%###3.43%

###Food, Home Provision and

###Grocery###8.04%###2.89%###0.32%###1.53%

###Automobile

###(Car/Motorcycle)###10.68%###4.27%###0.26%###2.08%

###Home Electronics (Audio

###System, TV, Cell Phone)###9.89%###4.24%###0.49%###2.05%

e-Retailing###Home Appliances (AC,

###Fridge, Washing M/c etc.)###7.43%###2.80%###0.18%###1.00%

###Computer/Notebook/Laptop###10.13%###4.74%###0.37%###2.51%

###sComputer Peripherals

###(Printer, Mouse etc.)###6.76%###2.99%###0.35%###1.56%

###Computer Software###10.02%###5.77%###0.47%###2.84%

###Books###14.41%###9.05%###1.13%###6.64%

###TOTAL###124.48%###55.36%###6.34%###31.99%

In future, only 3.4% of the total Internet Users interviewed is expected to avail paid classifieds service online.

USER CATERGORY###CHARACTORISTICS

Conventional###People who shop in Brick and Mortar stores

Looked for Information

(LFIs)###People who browse for information but do not shop

Apprehensive###People who will not shop on the net unless their

###concerns are addressed

Enthusiasts###People who are willing to try out

Though majority of internet users look for information on various product categories online, a relatively smaller portion of them actually buy online.

Some of the reasons to explain this behavior are:

1. Apprehensions with paying online

2. Lack of touch-feel-try

3. Concern with authenticity of seller and products sold online

4. Time lag between placing order and delivery of the product

5. Increase in the number of buyers and sellers

6. Change in the customer's attitude

7. Convenience

9. Better bargains

Highlights of the Study

Brand, navigation, fulfillment, presentation, up-to-date technology and the logos of security-guaranteeing firms constitute the essential formal characteristics of web sites that communicate trustworthiness to visitors.

Effective Navigation is generally a Precondition to Communicating e- Commerce Trust and the Perception that Sites Meet Consumer Needs.

The Most Trusted Web Brands Are Well-Known Brands...

Seven of the 12 most trusted brand names in e-commerce originated on the web. Regardless of where a brand established itself, however, one key aspect of establishing trust with consumers is the reputation of a brand, together, in many cases, with personal experience. So lack of trust was seen while collecting secondary and primary data.

Perceived e-shopping benefits, e-shopping intention and attitude toward e- shopping.

There is no obvious literature for supporting the relationship between perceived benefit and e-shopping intention. But, there is a concept that has a close meaning to perceived benefit. Perceived usefulness (PU) is a construct that appeared in Technology Acceptance literature. Other benefits coded while collecting data are as follows:

Better searching

Low price

Rich information

More choice:. e-Shop is open 365/7/24 and is closed only in the time of technical errors.

Time saving

Network speed

IT education and Internet usage

* Ubiquity

* Customized Products and Services

* Instant Delivery

* Electronic Communities

* No Sales Tax

Benefits to Society

* Telecommuting

* Higher Standard of Living

* Homeland Security

* Hope for the Poor

* Availability of Public Services

E-Commerce: Barriers to It's Growth in Pakistan and In Sukkur Misconceptions About E-Commerce in Pakistan Most people in Pakistan have developed wrong conception of E-commerce. They take a very limited view of E-commerce, restricting it to only those products which may be "digitalized" and transmitted online through internet and the payments for which is also made online through credit cards.

This narrow view excludes the other three main functions of E-commerce outlined above i.e., attracting new customers, serving existing customers, and developing new markets and distribution channels for existing products. This misconception is among the main reasons that have held most Pakistani entrepreneurs with existing conventional business back from entry into the 'cyberspace'.

2. Mistrust: Among the most important impediments to the growth of E- commerce in Pakistan is the issue of trust. Counterfeiting and distribution of below par products in face-to-face transactions is a common problem in the country. How can people be expected to trust the sellers whom they do not know, and who would deliver goods online/offline after the payment is made.

The issue of trust is further aggravated by the lack of confidence people have with respect to the security and privacy of their personal information like credit cards, home addresses, phone numbers etc. The emergence of trustworthy web-based companies, with support/guarantees from Government or trustworthy multinational companies, in the county is required to dispel these fears of the consumers.

3. Traditionalist Nature of Pakistani Society: A large number of people in Pakistan will take a long time to come round to the idea that they can order goods and make payments through internet from their homes without physically going out. This is due to the fact that on-site commerce has a socializing effect, which is altogether absent from E-commerce. In a strong relationship-oriented society like Pakistan, people tend to form individual relationships and long term associations with the businessmen and vendors.

4. Low Literacy Rate The literacy rate of the country, according to official figures, is around 54 per cent. Out of these 54 per cent literate people, at least 50 per cent, are computer illiterate. Thus, with around 75 per cent of the population without computer literacy, the growth of E-commerce in the country cannot be expected to progress at any faster pace.

5. Access to Technology: In order to undertake E-commerce transactions, one must be connected to the World Wide Web, for which possession of a personal computer (PC) or a laptop is a basic requirement. Although the prices of computer hardware have declined in the past few years, yet a personal computer is still not affordable by vast majority of the people of the country. Besides a personal computer, a telephone line or cable line are also required for a user to get connected to the World Wide Web. Thus, high costs of computer hardware are proving to be a bottleneck to the growth of the E- commerce in the country.

6. Access to Internet Services: It is true that in the past few years there has been a significant increase in the number of internet users in Pakistan, with some observers claiming that in Pakistan the internet access is now available to 800+ cities, towns and villages covering almost 97 per cent of the population.

7. Lack Of E-Transaction Support In Pakistan: Online payment systems are an essential part of e-commerce, which require, inter alia, possession of personal credit cards by consumers. However, few people in Pakistan have personal credit cards. Among the various reasons people avoid getting credit cards from banks include possibility of unnecessarily getting into the debt trap.

8. Poor Transportation/Distribution Channels: An essential part of e-commerce is establishment of cheap, quick and reliable transportation channels for the physical distribution of those products which cannot be digitalized and distributed online. In Pakistan, the Pakistan Postal Service, despite its extensive network and large number of employees is inefficient, to say the least; hence, unreliable. The private courier services, on the other hand, are expensive.

In the absence of any reliable and economical distribution channel, the web-based companies in Pakistan will be faced with the challenge of delivering their products at the doorstep of their consumers without adding the price of the product.

Results:

Findings of the study show that in general people have positive attitude for online shopping. For certain reasons they prefer shopping online, but not for all the products.

They prefer online mode to shop for specific range of products. In the context of Sukkur results show that people have interest in online shopping but there are a few serious issues of customers, if shopkeeper and business owner take care of these issues while designing their websites, and while marketing mix manipulations then people in Sukkur will start purchasing more goods and services using e-commerce and M-commerce channel.

Brand Strength

###Company###Mind Share(1)

1###Amazon.com###24.1%

2###eBay.com###16.1%

3###Yahoo.com###4.9%

4###priceline.com###2.7%

5###buy.com###1.9%

6###Barnesandnoble.com###1.8%

7###CDNow.com###1.3%

8###AOL.com###1.1%

9###Egghead.com###1.0%

1. Mind Share = the percent of Internet users for whom the site first came to mind when asked to think of Web sites that sell products or services over the Internet

2. Purchaser Share = the percent of online buyers that brought from the site

Top Problems Experienced by Online Retailers:

Source: Ghori departmental store in Sukkur

Problem Description###%

1.###Gift wanted to purchase was out of stock###64

2.###Product was not delivered on time###40

3.###Paid too much for delivery###38

4.###Connection or download trouble###36

5.###Didn't receive confirmation or status report on purchase###28

6.###Selections were limited###27

7.###Website difficult to navigate###26

8.###Website didn't provide information needed to make purchase###25

9.###Prices not competitive###22

The Future of E-Commerce in Pakistan

E-Commerce is the future of shopping. Thus, is would be apt to quote "The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet"- William Gibson

The Internet economy will continue to grow robustly; Internet users would buy more products and buy more frequently online; both new and established companies will reap profits online; and...

M-Commerce

E-Commerce is synonymous with PC and browser-based interaction. However, in the near future GPRS-enabled mobile phones will rule the online transactions. Today, online downloads to mobile phones is limited to low value services like music downloads, picture message downloads and ringtone downloads. However, as the mobile users get more familiar with buying online, the purchase of high-involvement products is expected to rise. Certain verticals like Banking and Finance, Travel, Entertainment, and Retail are likely to drive the growth of m-Commerce in Pakistan and in Sukkur

Challenges

With process of economic globalization and regional economic integration advancing, the rapid development of Internet technology, rapid technological innovation, the degree, complex, dynamics of collaboration between enterprises continues to improve, and all of which demand for e-commerce more and more. Under these new circumstances, challenges which the traditional e-commerce faced were mainly embodied in the following aspects in Sukkur market

1. Technical deficiency

2. Complex search

3. Trust building

4. Marketing mix and Trends

Conclusion:

I have tried to identify all the above relevant issues in this paper, which cover the determinants responsible for positive, as well as negative behavior of customers for online shopping. The results of the study give path way to businessmen to consider the revealed issues for making online retailing successful, which saves time and cost and create greater value to customers. Also this study highlights the fact that online mode can be used effectively as a tool for CRM.

This paper analyses the initial effects and relationships between consumer attitudes and Internet-based e-shopping. We were able to sample Internet B2C and B2B and to some extent C2C e-commerce.

References

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Dr. Muneer Ali Shah Rizvi and Faiz.M.Shaikh

*Dean, Faculty of Management Sciences and Information Studies, Greenwich University, Karachi, **Assistant Professor, SZABAC-Dokri
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Publication:Journal of Business Strategies (Karachi)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Dec 31, 2011
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