Online shopping is a transaction method in which the transfer of items and funds happen through online over electronic transfer mechanisms. In this regard, the online transaction process shall use secured shopping and protected through passwords. Mostly the transaction mechanism applies three steps. These are to register through online, to order, and to pay through online.
Generally speaking, online transaction platform is information systems that assist and deal with transaction-based applications, classically for data entry and retrieval transaction processing. Hence, online transaction is made through the help of an internet connection. It can’t happen without a suitable internet connection.
According to Girmay Woldu, a founder of addisber.com, which is an online shopping portal that presents different and wide ranged products through online platforms to potential customers in Ethiopia, explained that internet is one of the main challenges in the third world countries to introduce and operate online based business. According to him, online platforms need dependable internet connection in order to relay in the business.
It is true that online transactions occur when the transaction of selling and buying takes place through the internet. When a shopper procures a service or product through online, payment is almost a must through online transaction. That is why internet connection is a must throughout the procurement process.
In an effort to understand the issue, it is important to see the main functional operations involved in this type of process. Basically, three stages can be observed in the process as mentioned above. These are,
- Pre-transaction: through this stage, the service or product is promoted online with relevant details to potential customers;
- Transaction: Customer procures particular service/product and transact through online payment;
- Post-transaction: The ordered services/goods are delivered to the consumer.
Here, the main point is lack of basic legal infrastructure that involves e-commerce provisions and conditions. The issue of tax, patent & trademarks, stock handling procedures, delivery protocols, contractual obligations and related matters in the online business transactions shall be governed in a very clear manner through a distinctive piece of legislation. Most of the existing laws either do not have room for the online-based transactions or lack appropriate provisions since they only considered conventional transactions while promulgated.
The e-commerce legal infrastructure is very dynamic and demands flexible working situations. Otherwise, it is difficult to sustain online transactions and its operators like that of addisber.com in the business. In the case of online shopping transactions, the legal environment has to be revisited in order to encourage swift business transactions through online means in Ethiopia.