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Millions of Temu shoppers warned of major problem that could impact their health

Millions of Temu shoppers warned of major problem that could impact their health
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Temu shoppers are at risk of developing an addiction to the online retailer, according to an expert.

Temu launched 12 months ago in Australia, and has become a popular destination for ultra-cheap household products.

The company, which is owned by PDD Holdings, started in Shanghai, but recently moved its headquarters to Ireland.

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On Tuesday, Queensland University of Technology Business School senior lecturer Dr Shasha Wang joined Nat and Shirvo on Sunrise, and said many Temu shoppers developed an unhealthy reliance on the online retailer’s gaming-style app.

“(The app) is mostly based on the mechanism of games — it’s a balance between challenge and reward,” Wang said.

Dr Shasha Wang joined Nat and Shirvo on Sunrise on Tuesday, talking about Temu addiction.
Dr Shasha Wang joined Nat and Shirvo on Sunrise on Tuesday, talking about Temu addiction. Credit: Seven

The Temu app has a spinning wheel element, where shoppers can earn spins through purchases and participate in certain promotions.

Users can also get discounts and free products from the wheel.

“When people are spinning the wheel, it provides a challenge, they conquer a small challenge, but they get rewards in terms of incentives and coupons they can use that make it more enjoyable for consumers.

“In turn, they shop more and perhaps purchase more.”

Wang was asked how shoppers could deal with their potential addiction and offered a few simple rules.

“I would say firstly try to set up a cooling-off period before you make any purchase decision,” Wang said.

“Secondly, when you provide information online, try to consider what information you want to provide, because the recommendations are based on the data you provide.

“(The information) includes your shopping behaviour and also your personal information. So, make informed decision by reading the policies and privacy policies.”

Wang also said it was important to remain vigilant about the persuasive strategies used by online retailers such as Temu.

The academic also made mention of the huge marketing budget set aside for Temu, which last year spent $US500 ($AUD755) million on marketing, according to Forbes.

Just last month, Temu shoppers were warned about online scams — with cybersecurity expert Susan McLean speaking about possible privacy risks.

Temu has strenuously denied its website or app poses any risk to customers.

“I think every time you use online purchases or online shopping, there is a risk — we’ve seen that with other platforms being hacked over the years,” McLean said.

“We know that Temu, for example, is collecting a lot of data — it’s not hard to find that out.

“But the problem is people simply download the app and click ‘I accept’ without understanding what they’re actually accepting.”

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