Virtual Shopping Mall: A critical Analysis

Published: 18th October 2010
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Virtual shopping is gradually setting up its place in the modern way of shopping. People are very much interested in buying online more than ever. This is being backed by the constant evolution of networking and digital technology.



Virtual shopping malls can be described as online 3D shopping malls where users can navigate (virtually) in a shopping mall through 3D technology like in real life. Users can walk virtually to clothing shops, pharmacy, banks, shoe shops, bookshops among many others. It is quite similar to video games. Thus, it is a new appealing and enjoyable way of shopping, sitting in your room.



Considering the fact that people who have buying power are beginning work earlier and ending later, they hardly have time for shopping as they spend much of the time in front of a computer. For them, virtual shopping seems an affordable and efficient method to escape their routine monotony. In online shopping, high quality visuals are used to provide customers with maximum visual information. Digital cameras that produce high definition (HD) photos- 1920 x 1080 pixels- should be used to showcase the products on websites.



Quality animations are also used to showcase products more effectively. Both the 360-degree animations and 3D animations of products create a new online experience which is very appealing. This helps increase customer conversion rate.



Positive points



Virtual shopping mall is very similar to real life shopping as it is more enjoyable compared to e-commerce websites. Virtual users can visit several shops, meet other online users and discuss about their shopping preferences. The big advantage is that this type of shopping can be accessed at anytime and anywhere. Users do not have to physically move to a shop to buy their products. Irrespective of weather conditions, users can easily surf on the web and shop whenever they want. Products can be delivered directly to customers' home or to their preferred location.



Negative points



Virtual shopping is perceived as unsafe by many users. There is the problem of phishing and hacking. Phishing can be described as a fraudulent way of acquiring personal and confidential information of internet users. The largest international phishing case known is when the F.B.I and the Egyptian authorities arrested criminals who stole around $1.5 million. On the other hand, hacking is the process when people break into computers to steal other peoples' private information. The largest case of hacking costs a company around $200 million through the theft and sale of over 40 million credit and debit card numbers. Online shopping is indeed unsafe if the necessary precautions and rules are not respected.



Another negative point is that people who are in a haste to buy their products will find the manipulation of the virtual person too much to handle. They will prefer e-commerce websites which are more to-the-point and quick. In this respect, e-commerce websites have a competitive advantage.



From a broader perspective, health-wise, spending too much time in front of a computer screen is not very good as long fixation of the monitor screen causes eyestrains and headaches. Some people will prefer to go directly to the shopping mall. The physical evidence of real-life shopping centers is also a factor to be considered. Another disadvantage of online shopping is the fact that you depend on power supply to be able to use your computer. A power cut simply keeps your intended shopping unattended.



The question remains whether people want to use online shopping mall as a means to simplify their way of shopping or do they want to enjoy the whole shopping experience, like in real life?



Conclusion



In this essay, we have analyzed both the pros and cons of the virtual way of shopping. Virtual shopping seems to be ideal for some types of people at a specific time. One person might feel the need to shop at a particular time while at other time; the same person might want to shop via e-commerce or directly in a real shopping mall. We can affirm that virtual shopping mall has a place in the market and will continue to blossom even though many people feel insecure about online shopping. However, can virtual shopping malls become as popular as e-commerce websites? This is quite difficult to predict for the moment and only time will reveal it.



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