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December's other big C

Would you willingly give a total stranger any personal information about yourself? Would you trust and share anything about yourself with someone you have never met before or not known very closely, and will arguably, never meet? No? Not likely? Never? Yet, every day, we and millions of other people around the world do just that- when we make online purchases or conduct other means of virtual business.

Think about it. We don't have the benefit of an all-seeing mirror or crystal ball to know what or who is on the other end- and yet, especially when we are ordering items online, we divulge our name, our address (or at least, our billing address), and our credit card number to this unseen entity (or being), in a hopeful exchange of products, services, or both.

Is it a matter of convenience? Is it a matter of the world going 'borderless and paperless'? Or is it even a matter of pragmatic business- as in having greater access to a wider variety of goods and services? In other words, more options for your dollar? Let's examine each suggestion and then you decide for yourself.

At this time of year, the big C is arguably present and active in the minds of many persons. Indeed, it is the season of Christ and Christmas, and that is definitely not disputed. Nevertheless, for the primarily business-oriented individual, especially those identified as 'customer' or 'client', the big C for them, is spelled C-O-N-V-E-N-I-E-N-C-E.

In essence, they want to get a particular quantity (and quality) of goods and services from companies- minus the exceptional hustle, headache and heartache that the Christmas season can be notorious for. This includes them having to navigate throngs of holiday shoppers on the road, in the streets, and in shopping facilities like stores and malls, compete with their fellow motorists for very limited parking, if such facilities are available at all.

Then of course, there is the clear and present danger of being robbed and even assaulted while conducting business at an establishment, or even en route to or from that particular establishment. So, in a nutshell, yes, convenience is a strong motivator for many persons to opt for virtual business instead of the traditional means.

There is also the suggestion that the growing prevalence of virtual transactions is a direct consequence of the world going both borderless and paperless. In our contemporary times, it can be reasonably argued (and supported by a plethora of empirical evidence) that mankind, more so in the world of trade and commerce, is not as constrained as in years gone by, by the geographical borders of air, sea and land.

Indeed, the dual phenomena known as online banking and virtual shopping have all but assured that once one has an electronic device that is Internet-ready, business can be conducted. Furthermore, once this device, be it a Smartphone, PC (conventional), iPad (tablet), laptop, et cetera, is boosted by a reliable electricity supply, and the individual in possession of that particular device is fairly tech-savvy, trade can be conducted from sunrise to sunset, from the east to the west, as well as from the north to the south of Planet Earth, at one's literal fingertips.

Likewise, due to the credible risks of being a victim of crime, that are associated with having any sum of cash (especially large cash sums) on one's person, it appears that more consumers and corporate entities are moving toward conducting cashless business, especially where virtual business can be done remotely. Granted, virtual business is not foolproof, as the very real threats of fraud and identity theft are quite prevalent online. Nevertheless, that has not appeared to generally deter the business-geared global population, who continue to patronise major entities that have an online presence, such as Amazon, eBay, Ali Baba, PayPal, et cetera.

Finally, there is the suggestion that an increasing number of shoppers are consciously opting to entrust their personal information to an unseen entity, due to the comparatively wider variety of goods and services (at equally more competitive prices) that are available at their disposal. For example, they don't have to necessarily worry about 'wasting' a day's trip to a brick-and-mortar entity, only to be told (sometimes, by a very unpleasant and unhelpful Customer Service Representative) that, 'it have no more of that in stock,' or 'we not sure when we getting that again', or even 'you could come back next time'.

By contrast, what they want online, they are able to see courtesy of graphics, in a variety of colour, shape and size options, and even get some of the manufacturing details. Again, shopping online is not foolproof, and buyer's remorse is a very real occurrence, particularly when it comes to the purchase of clothes and accessories, and especially when delivery within 24 hours or less often incurs significantly higher costs than the basic, weeks'-long delivery cycle, depending on where the order is being processed, and also, where it is being delivered.

The Christmas season is about commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. Yet, for the contemporary commerce-minded individual, Christmas is also about convenience, and conducting transactions of the diverse, cashless variety. As an entrepreneur, what are you doing for your customers or your company this Christmas season to promote their wishes?

On another note, Merry Christmas to you and yours! See you in 2023!


LinkedIn Local Caribbean, Christmas, convenience, cashless, variety

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