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Wednesday, 24 May, 2000, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK
Do you like shopping online?

With the collapse of online fashion and sportswear retailer Boo.com, is this the end for shopping on the web?

Boo appears to have gone bust because of a cash-flow crisis. But it was rashly ambitious in launching simultaneously in 18 countries across two continents, and online shoppers found its cutting-edge high-tech website hard to use.

Do you like shopping on the web or do you always want to see and feel the goods before you buy? Is e-retailing just a fancy name for mail order? Tell us what you think. HAVE YOUR SAY I love shopping on-line! It's so convenient - I can shop late on an evening after a long day at work. So far I've bought DVDs, books, clothes and groceries amongst other things. Delivery of the DVDs and books in particular has been excellent and some of the companies have an excellent attitude towards their customers.
Mike Sturman, England



Going out to buy clothes for example provides an opportunity to meet up with a friend, have a good chat and at the same time walk around

Laura Campbell, England
To me e-mail shopping means staying at home in front of a computer screen and encouraging the majority of society to continue in lazy habits. Going out to buy clothes for example provides an opportunity to meet up with a friend, have a good chat and at the same time walk around. Fresh air and exercise come into action through this whereas with e-shopping it is not so much fun to see friends.
Shopping without the computer decreases the risk of being bitterly disappointed by your purchases as you can try on the clothes there and then without having to worry about whether the size is right or whether the style and colour suit you. All in all, e-mail shopping is a bad idea!
Laura Campbell, England

I find it hard to believe that the online retailers (e-tailers) will ever make money. Although I did use Amazon to buy books and CD's etc., I now routinely use Dealpilot to search the web for the cheapest availability of an item including shipping. I only purchase items from whoever sells the item cheapest including shipping and handling.
Steve, USA



E-tailing is here to stay, and it's up to the e-tailers to ensure that it is successful.

Bob, UK
To be successful in 'e-tailing' businesses must provide the consumers with the following fundamental benefits: A Web-site that is easy to find, easy to navigate, interesting and innovative. A product range that is comprehensive.>BR>Prices that are competitive and that bear comparison to competitors. An order fulfilment system that delivers the right goods speedily. The provision of order tracking systems that will allow the consumer to check on progress at any time. A surety to the consumer that payment transaction is totally secure through the use of encryption. A back-up customer service facility that is knowledgeable about customer needs and the product range of the business - and who resolves problems promptly and efficiently. Delivering all of the above will ensure success and promote consumer brand loyalty for the e-tailer. It is better therefore for the e-tailer to stick to a product range that it understands, rather than spread the range and dilute the service. E-tailing is here to stay, and it's up to the e-tailers to ensure that it is successful.
Bob, UK

More often than not, only after I've taken the time to shop, select items, and laboriously fill out the on-line purchase form, do I discover that the system won't accept a foreign customer. This is truly infuriating! An example is when my input keeps bouncing back telling me to input my state, or zipcode.
Jesse Cope, Belize

Am I the only person who has noticed that not only was Boo.com's line of clothing poor, but that most of us want to feel the material, try on the clothes, etc before we buy. Food shopping through the internet is great, as well as electronic items since we can see from the specs what is available, but items that require that personal touch will always be better in shops...
Paul Charters, England



E-tail is same as catalogue buying except that it is easier to fill out the forms on the net.

Dave, USA
E-tail is same as catalogue buying except that it is easier to fill out the forms on the net. I have only bought twice on the net and would not by clothing - it's too expensive and the freight costs are too high. Also, just like catalogue sales it's too much of a hassle to return items. As for something like a car I would have to drive it first and I would not travel very far to do this.
Dave, USA

The demise of Boo simply shows, as one reporter commented, that style can no longer win over substance. Online businesses must add more value to their offering, give better customer service and sell at competitive prices, because the customer is only a click away from the competitor's site. The real challenge ahead is whether consumer confidence and trust in online businesses has reached a level where e-tailing can really take off. Businesses have already developed the security software necessary for secure payment systems: now, they must focus on convincing the customer of this and work on becoming as credible as traditional high-street brands.
Andreas, Scotland

A lot of e-commerce sites are design by programmers that have no idea about marketing or what their audience want to use their site for. Marketing professionals should take full control over the design of such sites.
Chris Horner, UK



If you know what you want or are flexible about what you want then the Internet has some good points (particularly price)

Ian Gray, UK
Horses for courses. If you know what you want or are flexible about what you want then the Internet has some good points (particularly price). But if you need to be specific (the right colour or the right fit) then you can't beat seeing it first in a shop and you always know where to take it back to.
Ian Gray, UK

I love to shop online. What a time saver, no need to go to those huge ugly malls in the US. Prices are competitive, especially airline tickets.
O. Pryor, USA

To some people internet shopping is a god send. The nature of my job does not always allow me to go shopping whilst the shops are open. Also, I have to work in areas where sometimes there is very little choice. It gives me a flexible fallback to acquire things when in these situations.
John Reid, UK



There is little incentive for a person in a major city to shop by Internet.

Maria Gatti, Québec - Canada
I live in Montréal: there is little incentive for a person in a major city to shop by Internet. There are few quality Canadian sites; once the exchange or shipping is factored in, US and European sites are far too dear, no matter how pretty their wares may be.
Maria Gatti, Québec - Canada

As a customer support rep for Online retail store (family wonder) i think online shopping is fantastic, easy and fun. But, one cannot override the fundamentals of Economics. I think boo.com overshot in this area.
sidharth, india

Internet shopping is great! It allows me to buy things from America which I can't get here! I can buy books which go unreleased in the UK, I can buy CDs which go unreleased over here (or if you find them as an import, they're twice the price), and I can buy DVD's of films which have barely hit the cinema! Supermarket shopping over the Internet can feasibly replace 20 cars going to the supermarket with one delivery van - lessening traffic and pollution. Admittedly, I wouldn't buy clothes over the Internet. I'd want to see them and maybe try them on. Maybe that's why Boo was doomed?
Antony, UK



When its good its very, very good, when it's bad its very, very bad.

John Whelan, Canada
When its good its very, very good, when it's bad its very, very bad. For books basically no bookstore has the depth of what is available on the Internet. Occasionally if it's a book of photographs seeing them first can help but often knowing the series and the photographer means you have a fair idea of what you are buying. Stumbling across BBC Navy Lark tapes, or Hitch Hiker's guide to the Galaxy on audio CD, is practically impossible in Canada, even slipping across the pond for the weekend, doesn't give you enough time to dig out these sort of gems
John Whelan, Canada

Far from it. Online shopping is convenient, it is fast. Shoppers will not have to contend with crowded shopping malls, rude cashiers and salespeople or having to drive all over town to find things. Boo.com failed because of poor business decisions and a web-site that was not user-friendly.
Jeff, USA

No, I do not have to 'touch' everything I order. I do not order from places whose merchandise is unknown to me, though. I stick with the tried and true. Also ordering books, cd's, and the like, why would I need to touch? If a company misrepresents their merchandise or their product, it is easy to return.
Mona G.Overton, USA

Boo.com's mistake was in simple marketing: a stupid name. Who can trust something called after a child's frightener?
Tom Donald, Scotland

In the absence of a global legal framework to regulate cyberspace activities, I am not overeager to e-tail.
Mohan Singh, India

I love browsing for online shopping but I never seem to buy anything as the prices are too expensive when you take into account exchange rates and postage and packaging.
CJ, Eire

Internet shopping is wonderful, just try it! Boo.com's mistake was in simple marketing: a stupid name. Who can trust something called after a child's frightener?
Tom Donald, Scotland



The technology may be changing, but the old rules of economics still apply

Paul R, UK
I have bought goods over the Internet on many occasions with no major problems. Issues have mainly been with poorly designed or slow performing sites. My purchases have been limited to books, CDs and some electronic items. I have also bought from auction sites. All in all buying on the web is effortless. If anything is holding back e-retail it is the poor distribution services which only deliver when we are all at work.
Pepe, UK

Having lived for three years in the US and used "e-tailers" there, all I can honestly say is that most of the European ones just don't get it. The truth is most UK sites I've looked at are dreadfully designed They offer no discount, postage is expensive, and after dealing with US mail-order companies, I expect the correct goods, within the week. If there is a problem, I also expect total customer satisfaction. In the US I bought books, CDs, hiking gear, computer parts, airline tickets and I never had a problem that was not resolved to my satisfaction. In the UK I just gave up, as the sites were slow, customer service dire, and it's cheaper and easier to just go to the high street.
Adam Trickett, UK

Boo.com was ahead of its time and most people connecting from home could not even view the site because their connection was too slow. Shopping by internet can be a great experience, provided retailers give good customer service. The lesson to be learned from Boo.com is not that internet shopping is doomed, but that you can't keep on losing money indefinitely. The technology may be changing, but the old rules of economics still apply.
Paul R, UK

Consumer research has revealed that products which conform to sensory parameters like touch, feel, smell, taste etc have highest satisfaction level when the buyer actually experiences the sensory indicators. Hence e-line shopping may flourish for books, stocks, computers, etc.
Deepak, Canada



I am convinced this is the way of the future, and it's already a huge time-saver for our household

Julia Moseley, USA
I think that people are not convinced when it comes to buying clothes online. I have used the web to shop for books, dress shirts and airline tickets but I would not be happy about buying a suit from the web.
Graeme Allison, UK

I work with computers all day, yet prefer not to buy online. I will only use if it offers me more convenience or a substantially better price.
John B, UK

Boo.com was a typical example of an over-hyped, over-priced and over-rated company which was doomed to failure through a lack of knowledge of its target market. Buying online is the best way to shop as it offers all the choice without the hassle. Only those companies who keep it simple and offer consumers what they want, in a format they can access, will succeed.
Wendy, UK

My advice is be very careful. You are not at risk from hackers, but from companies themselves. I won't name names but I have had several experiences where I have been debited twice even three times when I have purchased just one item. Check your credit card bill very carefully. You may, like me, begin to wonder if the saving in purchase price is worth all the hassle which can be associated with internet shopping
Jim Magilton, UK

I love shopping online and avoid shopping in person whenever possible, except for things where fit is especially important, like shoes. I love having everything delivered straight to our house - much easier than schlepping purchases inside while trying to carry the baby as well! So many sites are new and offer excellent promotions, discounts, and free shipping, allowing the savvy shopper to get many items for free or at large discounts. Not to mention that here in the US, purchases made across state lines don't incur sales tax, saving 8.6% immediately. I am convinced that this is the way of the future, and it's already a huge time-saver for our household.
Julia Moseley, USA


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19 May 00 | Business
Boo could rise anew
18 May 00 | Business
The future of e-tailing
17 Jan 00 | Business
Online shopping set to boom
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