Online shopping is really all about me!

There are three great things about online shopping: the immensive size of the shop at my disposal, the plethora of products and services available for me to purchase, and the ease in which I can spend money from the comfort of my armchair.

Yes, it really is all about me!

I want to buy quality products or services that I want and at the best price. I want a wide choice and clear, no-nonsense information on the benefits and features of what I'm intending to buy. I want a simple, transparent but safe contracting process from decision through purchase to delivery. I want guarantees and warranties that products or services are fit-for purpose; and I want easy access - without any stress - to customer services at anytime before, during or after sales.

I want the law to back me up with certainty and speed should something go wrong and it's not my fault - irrespective of whether I'm a business customer or a consumer. I want everything that makes my life easier when I've decided to purchase a product or service online.

Is that too much to ask for in this age of the super information, technologically-enabled economy?

Good, because I don't mean to be selfish and I don't intend to be rude. But these are my expectations that brands have helped to create by marketing products and services tailored towards my own individual requirements.

It's simply about my choice, my decision and I'm in control!

Forget fancy management spiel learned on courses, taught in college and discussed for an hour in that team meeting that strategizes, improvises, 'thinks outside the box' - and yet can't make a decision. Customers are not interested in e-commerce concepts, p-commerce trends, collaborative strategies or staffing problems (unless they're a shareholder and should be concerned).

Online shopping - it's all about me

Customers will buy what they want and when they want. They will therefore require appropriate support before, during and after making their purchases. The supplier just needs to make it easy for them to do so. That's the competitive advantage!

Online shopping is not just about organisations developing good marketing and sales strategies to show us what we think we want.  We're getting used to finding out the facts for ourselves. The world wide web allows us to make our own decisions quickly using freely available information, for example product reviews and user experience. Hurrah to social media that connects us with and enables us to learn from, our peers!

We're all individually different and have our own reasons for purchasing particular goods and services online, sometimes from preferred companies. We're all discerning customers empowered by online business processes, digital technologies and social media. We're in control, not every organisation yet knows it, but the best ones do and are changing their business models quickly to meet our requirements.

Recently, but not unfairly I criticised the call centre used by my energy company. I don't expect to wait 30 minutes for someone to answer my telephone call - it's disrespectful, unacceptable and a good example of where online business processes fall short of customer expectations. I'm predicting that clever social media tools will eventually replace many traditional call centres. They will identify customer-centric issues early-on, connecting them with customer services over secure, integrated sites where accounts can be discussed.

Where can E RADAR help?

To win business online companies require trust and confidence by applying best practice throughout the whole online cycle of supply and demand. Each part, every component in the online process - before, during and after sales - requires legal certainty in order to meet customer expectations.

E RADAR provides an independent platform for organisations online and across all sectors to identify, share and act upon best practice. This includes an online subscription service monitoring the latest legal and regulatory proposals as well as managing IT governance, legal compliance and risk