• United States
Contributing Writer

Trust issues dog e-commerce

Jul 17, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Why some consumers still don’t trust e-commerce

Last week, I went back to Pennsylvania where I grew up to spend quality time with my father. At just past 80 years old, he’s still plugging along quite well, but I notice him slowing up a bit.

There are things he can’t do so well anymore: grocery shopping, going back and forth to the bank and post office to mail bills, making frequent trips to the pharmacy to fill his prescriptions, or walking the malls in search of the perfect presents for his nine grandchildren.

But for each of these challenges, there is an online solution. He could sign up for a Peapod-like order/delivery service to meet the demands of carrying groceries out of a store and into a car and then dragging them into the house. He could set up an account with PayPal or an equivalent service to handle his bills. He could take advantage of the new e-prescription services that are cropping up to dispense medication right to your doorstep. And he could surf through any of the e-versions of the bricks-and-mortar stores he would find at a mall to select gifts for the grandkids.

The question is why isn’t he doing all this? My father, like many of his generation, has a deep distrust of anything that requires a lot of personal information. He told me that he feels they’ll misuse his financial information. In fact, while I was home, I helped him resolve a disputed charge on his credit card that resulted from someone getting a hold of his account information.

I asked what it would take for him to sign on to these types of services, which would be of great help to him. He shook his head and said, “A lot.” Then he turned the tables and asked me what I thought.

I truly was looking forward to helping him set up his online banking, an automatic grocery list and some bookmarks for some good online stores. Though my mantra is “trust no one” regarding spam, somehow I am more lenient in my Web site use. I realize the usefulness of these services and want them to work. I feel if you don’t give them a chance, then we’ve thwarted e-commerce before it’s had a chance to really change our world.

So will my father experience the benefits of e-commerce? Probably not. But I’ll bet by the time my generation reaches that age, we’ll be ready to take full advantage of these incredible services.

What do you think? Let me know at