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Part I: Introduction > Chapter Understanding the Online Store Market Opportunit...

Chapter 4. Chapter Understanding the Online Store Market Opportunity

The goal of this chapter is simple—to help you understand why online shopping is such a big growth market, what the traits of online shoppers are, and why they actually shop online.

This chapter is divided into three critical sections, each building on the preceding. First we will show how many people around the world are connected to the Web, 1because unless they are connected, it's hard for them to be customers. Then we will explain the basic makeup of people on the Web—who they are, where they are from, and what they are doing. Finally, we will look at the future of online shopping and how this all fits together to answer the most critical questions: why is online shopping actually better for people, and how do you design your store based on all of these issues?

The source of the expected success of online shopping is twofold. First, shoppers have easily identifiable reasons for people to buying online, which creates direct demand for Web-based stores. It is not just a pure demand for the goods, but also a demand for the way in which they are bought and sold. Second, merchants have a number of compelling reasons to move much of their business online. Not only can merchants take part in the Web's growth, but they can also streamline customer interaction and other operations to extract extra profits from the same sales.

At its core, the online store is a new way for people to interact and pursue commerce opportunities. Once you understand all the fundamental forces at work (and how they change how commerce works), you will be more prepared for success in the world of Web retailing.

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