Emalls of America
"Real shopping for real people!"

Emalls of America offers shoppers, both local, national and international the opportunity to make secure purchases from the safety, convenience and privacy of their own home or office.   Each mall will eventually be made up of two sections, the "National Mall" (now online), which is made up of nationally recognized stores such as the Gap, LL Bean, Nordstrom Rack, Toys R Us, etc. and services such as travel, e-loans, and car buying. The local merchants area will be made up of local merchants and services.

As a guide for the internet newcomers who are just entering the world of online shopping we have gathered together some helpful information and included it here to help make make your online shopping experience a more educated and enjoyable one.


intro | why online shopping | it's easy | how it works | online payments | purchasing tips | glossary

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Emalls of America


Intro to the Internet

Welcome to the inescapable phenomenon known as the internet. Not a day goes by that television, daily newspapers and magazines are not filled with stories and information about how it is rapidly changing our world. Not un like the telephone in the early 1900's, the automobile in the 1920's, and the television in the 1950's, the migration to the internet by millions of people from around the world is changing the way we do business at home and at work, as well as the entire educational system.

In it's infancy, around 1994, there were approximately 39 million people using the internet. That number had increased to about 51 million in 1997, and in 2000 the number has increased to 315 million. The use of the internet continues to grow each day at an unbelievable rate. If you have been using the internet for anytime at all, you know why so many people have so enthusiastically embraced the internet and all it has to offer.

For those of you just beginning to become familiar with the internet, you are about to discover a resource that has few boundaries and that has the potential to change forever, the way you manage your everyday life.

Why shop on the internet?

The benefits of shopping on the internet are numerous and to summarize them is difficult. However there are two key aspects to online shopping that make it very attractive to most people.

    1) Convenience - You have to go no further than your computer to access the
        boundless resources and services available online; 24 hours daily, 7 days a
        week, and 365 days a year. 

    2) Accessibility - Shopping online allows people to shop at stores without regard
        to geographic limitations both locally and around the world with just a few clicks of
        the mouse.

Shopping online is what many users find most attractive about having access to the internet. Traditional brick&mortar shopping does have its rewards, but many shoppers are beginning to see even more advantages to shopping online.

Here are just a few advantages:

  • it saves time

  • it saves money

  • no checkout lines

  • there are no crowds

  • no geographic limitations

  • costs comparison shopping is easy

  • many items can be purchased for less

  • hundreds of thousands of items are available through one source

  • it's easy to purchase gifts and have them sent directly to the recipient

  • there is no travel to the stores, between stores, or even around a store

  • you don't get redirected or put "on hold" while trying to purchase such items as airline tickets

  • a few clicks of your mouse can show you the quality, colors or prices of similar items from a variety of merchants

    With so many benefits, the internet is changing forever the way we all shop. More and more people are learning about the advantages to shopping online and setting aside their uncertainties as they discover how safe, convenient and accessible it can be.

Easier than a trip to the city!

For those new to online shopping and feeling slightly intimidated by the thought of trying to find an item and then actually purchasing it, rest assured that it can actually be easier than taking a shopping trip to the city. To begin with, think of your computer as being your means of transportation which will take you where ever you want to shop. Once there, you simply browse undisturbed, at your own pace, and pick out the items you want to purchase. An emall is similar to the mall you are accustomed to visiting by bus or car. It contains a variety of familiar stores, retailers and catalogers that are all listed on one site. Just like in a brick&mortar mall, the emall can make shopping easier. You might also save money by shopping at the emall as many merchants offer a discount for shopping there.

How it works!

Upon entering the emall and following the links from the directory to your favorite store you can enter the store with a click of the mouse and begin looking around and deciding if there are any purchases you would like to make. To do this, you need only follow the prompts that will be on your computer screen. You might expect to take the following steps: 

1) As you shop and select items that you would like to purchase, they will most likely be automatically placed in a virtual shopping cart. Commonly used in larger stores, shopping carts allow you to add or remove products from your virtual cart until you complete the check out process. Put simply, the site keeps an ongoing list of the items you have selected while you are shopping.

2) In smaller stores without shopping carts you may be asked to fill out an order form, checking items that you want to purchase. 

3) When you are finished shopping in a particular store and ready to purchase your selections you will go through a "check out process." This process shouldn't seem any more complicated than if you were shopping from a catalog  or in a brick&mortar store (one notable difference... no checkout lines). As is the norm you should make sure you are happy with the items you have selected and at this time make any last minute changes. (Don't worry, no one is standing in line behind you waiting for you to make up your mind so take your time!)

4) When you are certain you are ready to checkout you can click where indicated to complete your order. At this point you will be required to enter such information as your name, address, any special shipping instructions, etc. You will also be asked to enter your email address so that the merchant can send you an email confirmation of your order. It is important to save this message for future reference. 

5)The final step allows you to select the shipping and payment options. There are a number of ways to pay for online purchases, including checks and money orders. However most online transactions are made by credit card or other forms of "currency" that allow for the fast, secure transmission of electronically transferred funds.


Online payments

As mentioned above, during the final step of the checkout process you will be asked for information on how you would like to pay. Credit cards are the payment vehicle of choice for most merchants and shoppers alike, and the same is true when it comes to making purchases online. You should also consider the advantages of using one credit card over another. For example, some issuers may offer superior benefits, such as warranties, satisfaction guarantees, or fraud protection.  It would also be a good idea to use a card from a financial institution that allows you to access your account information online at any time.

Security fears are often the reason many new online shoppers are hesitant  to give out personal information online.... particularly financial information. Online technology advancements have all but eliminated any reason for these concerns. However, if you are concerned about giving out credit information over the internet, you might consider shopping only with a credit card that offers fraud protection guarantees that make you not liable for any unauthorized charges. The majority of the major credit card issuers now offer online fraud protection as do many of the online merchants. To find out if this service is offered by a merchant check for a link on the site that addresses their purchase policies. In a worst case scenario, if you're ever a victim of credit card fraud, the Fair Credit Act specifies that your credit card company can hold you liable for no more than $50 in fraudulent charges to your account.


We suggest our visitors to the emalls follow the tips below when shopping online. 

1) Shop the stores you know best first. By beginning your online shopping experience with these merchants, you already have the comfort of shopping with someone you know and trust.

2)  Most stores provide lots of information and viewing options, but you still must make a purchase decision without examining the merchandise. Check the " Return Policy". Make sure you understand the return policy for purchases made online....  don't forget, returning an item usually means shipping it back although many online stores that have brick&mortar stores will now allow you to return items to the nearest store.

4) Be aware of the shipping process. Many sites offer free shipping, but others charge for this service. Find out when you can expect delivery.... quite often you will be provided a tracking number so that you can track your delivery online or by phone. Another thing to be aware of is whether or not you must be home to accept the delivery.

5) Low overhead for online merchants means savings for online shoppers. Discounts and extra rewards are also just a few of the other benefits to shopping online stores.

6) Retailers known for their excellent customer service will in most cases try to maintain this reputation on the internet as well.

7) Use secure online forms and or secure servers. Information entered into secure online forms allows only the intended party to translate the encrypted information.  Most browsers will indicate that a site or form is secure by displaying a locked padlock symbol. Secure sites and pages usually have a web address that begins with https: versus http:

8) Keeping good records is important to keep track of your online purchases which is no different than doing so when purchasing from a brick&mortar store. Always print out copies of your sales invoice and also save them on your computer. The invoice should include the cost of the purchase, the confirmation number, and any other pertinent information.

9) Finally, if you're still a little weary about this new way of shopping, start by making a small purchase. This will help you get your feet wet. Before you know it you'll be shopping with confidence
on a regular basis wondering how you ever survived without the internet in your previous life.


Glossary of Internet and Online Shopping Terms

A program which allows the user to access, move between and view material on a web site. Examples of popular browsers in use today include Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Explorer and FireFox.

Check Out
Final step in the online shopping process. This is the stage where you input credit card information and finalize the purchase.

A small text file stored on your computer about a website you have visited used to remind that site about you the next time you visit it.

Short for electronic mall. An emall is made up of a number of online merchants and services.

Electronic mail sent and received via the internet.

Software created to code internet content for security and privacy. Encryption is used to protect credit card transactions and other transactions involving private information.

Home Page
The starting point of a website. A home page is similar to a table of contents offering direct links to different parts of the site.

A system that connects computers together in a global network of links to various web sites.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)
A company that provides local access to the internet usually by means of a dialup connection, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) or via cable.

A link generally refers to any highlighted words or phrases on an internet site that allows the user to click on, and then jump to another section of the same document or to another web site.

Online Communities
Websites devoted to bringing people together with similar interests by providing chat rooms, message boards, and other information and resources in one place.

Online Directories
Similar to a search engine, online directories take information from the internet and place them in categories by topic allowing people to search for information. An example of  an online directory is Yahoo.

Coupled with a username, or user id, a password gives users access to secure parts of a website. Users should keep passwords private to increase their security on the Internet.

Search Engines
Sites that are equipped with special software that allow the user to search the internet for sites that contain specified key words, phrases or topics. Examples of search engines include Google and Alta Vista.

Secure Online Forms
Forms that encrypt the information input by the user about themselves when it is sent to the recipient. Once reaching it's destination it can only be de-encrypted by the receiving party.

Secure Server
A web server that uses encryption to prevent others from reading messages to or from your browser. Online shopping sites use secure servers to prevent others from viewing ordering information. Also known as a Secure Sockets Layer. 

Surf the Net
Browse the internet.

Acronym used for Uniform Resource Locator, a URL is a website's unique address on the internet.

Username or User id
Usually coupled with a password, a username gives users access to websites that have restricted access.

Virtual Shopping Cart
A metaphor for keeping track of items that online shoppers have selected in a virtual store. Shoppers can select items and place them or remove them from their virtual shopping cart.

A collection of web pages that reside at the same address on the internet.



intro | why online shopping | it's easy | how it works | online payments | purchasing tips | glossary

back to
Emalls of America


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