For many consumers, online shopping has become a popular way to spend money. Itís quick, cheap, easy and thereís a much wider choice of products on the net than in their local shops.

Retailers who have bricks and mortar shops are quickly realizing that e-commerce, or e-tailing, is a great potential customer source with low running costs. Consumers often surf the net using a search engine looking for particular products. When a visitor arrives at a web site, itís quite easy to shop using a virtual shopping cart. Sometimes itís necessary to log on to a site, by putting a user name and password. The consumer then shops and pays by credit card. Itís recommended to shop on secure sites only. These sites have a small locked padlock and sometimes have an address which starts with https://.

Some web sites are extremely popular and have thousands of hits, or page views, every day. When you shop on the internet, most sites keep a record of online purchases for each unique user, or separate individual visitor. The company can then build up a customer profile for each shopper and personalise the shopping experience.