Consumers are still wary about buying online, despite a plethora of safe shopping initiatives designed to build up trust in the market.
Although this year is set to be a bumper Christmas for the e-tailing industry, with shoppers in the UK expected to spend more than £1.7bn online over the coming month, there are still fears about customer service and product quality.
Even trusted web trader hallmarks, developed to improve consumer confidence, have failed to address the problems.
When the e-hallmark was first seriously mooted and backed by government in 1999, the aim was to give concerned consumers assurances that online shopping did not have to be dangerous.
E-tailers would agree to adhere to a code of practice covering issues ranging from security to fair pricing and advertising.
Several subsequent schemes were set up but only a few, such as the Interactive Media in Retail Group's (IMRG's) Safe Shopping hallmark and the Consumers' Association Which? Web trader logo, have survived.
Even they do not attract many e-tailers to the scheme. Of its 200 hundred members, IMRG only has around 30 signed up despite covering over 4,000 different brands. Which? has 2,288, although it has rejected over 6,000 online traders for failing to reach its standards.
This lack of interest hardly generates kudos for the hallmarks among consumers. The main reason appears to be the increased protection afforded to consumers by the Distance Selling Regulations.
The retailing industry now believes that the e-hallmark trusted shopping site concept has outlived its usefulness, and a growing number of e-tailers have indicated that they will not sign up to such a scheme.
James Roper, chief executive at IMRG, said: "Hallmarks were needed four years ago to build trust among consumers.
"We set up a hallmark system for e-tailers but not many of our members have signed up because consumers are better protected shopping online than in the high street.
"Most people now know the basics of safe shopping online. We don't need a man with a red flag walking ahead of us."
But e-hallmarks still have their champions. While consumers do have financial protection, this does not guarantee cyber-shoppers the customer service or product quality which are increasingly the principal drawbacks.
Robert Dirskovski, secretary of Trust UK, the umbrella organisation that sets the e-hallmarks standards, argued that the schemes help generate confidence in buying from smaller e-tailers.
"Maybe the high street brands don't need to join, although many have, but the benefits to small traders are proven," he explained.
"By becoming accredited many have identified an increase in sales of 25 per cent. A scheme that will do this also widens the choice for the consumer which is what internet shopping is about."
This view is echoed by Mike Trenouth, of iForce, which provides digital fulfilment services for e-tailers.
"We are seeing the re-emergence of smaller, niche e-tailers and any scheme that could boost consumer confidence and bridge the gap between customer perception of well known brands and lesser known ones can only be good," he said.
In addition, expected future hallmarks should address both consumer and retailer safety.
The long awaited Visa Verification scheme would give consumers even more confidence that their money is safe when shopping online, and give e-tailers, which currently bear the brunt of the majority of online credit card fraud, the protection they need.
Are you paying attention?
Private equity firm Permira only acquired Magento from eBay for $200m three years ago
Before robots can take over from humans, we need more humans
It's not easy not being evil