Unit 8 (P5): Social Implications of E-Commerce on Society

Examine the social implications of e-commerce on society (P5)

Benefits for Customer

Access to Goods and Services

This has allowed for people that could not normally go out shopping for many different reasons to be able to purchase services and goods online.


Anytime Access

As e-commerce sites can be used at all times of the day, this allows customers to shop when it is most convenient for them, even in unsociable hours when shops would normally be shut.


Internet Discounts

These can be added to goods to make it more favourable to buy online. Also as they often do not have as many overhead costs to cover with an e-commerce site, they can sometimes charge less for products.

Drawbacks for Customer

Payment Security

This can concern customers, especially on websites they are not familiar with. Customers should be checking sites that they are secure and payment methods are appropriate.


Reliance on Delivery

Getting a reliable delivery service can be tricky. E-commerce sites that offer order tracking or an exact delivery time are helpful to allow customers to plan waiting for deliveries around their day.


Impact on Employment

Click businesses often need less staff to run them than brick businesses do. Meaning there could be less chance for employment, also people that are hired to work for click businesses will require specialist skills.


Social Divide

E-commerce may also be seen to create a social divide between the people that will use e-commerce sites on a regular basis and those who continue to shop traditionally.

Customer Perspective

Adding Customer Value

E-commerce sites can often provide added value by offering online discounts, free delivery and other incentives to make using e-commerce more favourable.


Adding Service

As well as selling products and services, e-commerce sites also provide services to help customers with their purchase. These include delivery, customer support, FAQ, and payment options. These all have an impact on numbers of staff needed and costs.


Ease of Use

E-commerce sites make it increasingly easy to buy products and services online, often with only a few clicks. Faster payment systems like PayPal and saving favourite products help to make e-commerce fast and simple. Added security helps to keep sites secure and improve consumer trust.


Economic and Social Impact of Changes due to Speed

The way we shop has changed dramatically in recent years and is probably only going to continue changing. This means that both socially and economically things are going to continue to change.


Online Vs. High Street

There are many implications to consider with a brick and click business as there is a need for consistency between the traditional shop and the e-commerce site, for example with payment, prices, products and company ethos.


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