African-American Shoppers Online - Where Are They?
Online shopping generates hundreds of millions of dollars in sales every single day. Some of the key players are Amazon.com, eBay.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and tons of others that are popular online and offline such as Walmart.com and Target.com. This past November alone, online shoppers spent 8.8 billion dollars, up 19% from last November's spending of 7.4 billion.
With online shopping being so popular, why are some African-Americans still talking about how skeptical they are to use their credit cards on the web? Perhaps there are some in the Black community that are unaware of the facts. According to an article on BlackNews.com, here are four common misconceptions about buying online:
- Buying online is not safe.
If this were true, then why do 100 million consumers make purchases online everyday? Technology is so advanced that online credit card transactions are anywhere from 99% - 100% secure. That's safer than ordering over the phone. Plus, many sites now allow their customers to pay by check online, which is even safer.
Be careful, however, about shopping anywhere online. Make sure that the web site is reputable and looks safe. Also, be sure to have the right firewalls and virus protection on your computer to prevent anyone from hacking your info.
- Buying online is expensive because of shipping charges.
Not true. In most cases, shipping is just a few dollars more. However, most companies will offer you free shipping if you spend more than $40 or $50 dollars. Also, a lot of retailers will lower their prices online so that the shipping costs will add up to the regular price of the item.
- Buying online is difficult and time-consuming.
Wrong again. Buying online is one of the easiest things to do on a computer. Opposed to walking up and down aisles in the store, you can search for an item online and find it in seconds. In addition, you can have a whole cart full of stuff, and not even have to bear the weight of pushing it. Online shopping can minimize your time spent in a store by up to 50%, leaving you hours more in the day to do other things.
- Returning an item is complicated.
Actually, returning an item couldn't be more simpler. First of all, it's easier to keep track of your receipt because you can store it in your email. Secondly, you can use the same packaging to return items, and most online retailers will pay for the shipping. Thirdly, retailers with storefronts will allow you to return or exchange items ordered online at their physical location nearest you.
"Over the past three years, there has been a significant increase in African-American online spending, but not significantly enough," comments Dante Lee, CEO and president of Diversity City Media. "We as a community have to stop putting ourselves behind when it comes to technology. Online buying has been safe and secure for nearly ten years now."
Lee's company is the multicultural marketing and retail firm that owns BlackNews.com and BlackPR.com. In 2005, they plan to launch a black-focused online shopping portal called BlackShopping.com, as well as a PR campaign to educate Blacks about how safe and secure online shopping is.
However, there's more than just that - African-Americans also seem to be hesitant about other web-based services, such as online banking, online bill-pay, and online auctions. Lee adds, "The Internet is such a useful tool in many ways. Anyone who doesn't take advantage of it is really missing out."