In recently released figures from the US Department of Commerce, the resilience of eCommerce in trying economic times has been highlighted. In times when the wider global economy has been struggling, sales from online merchants have grown a very impressive 17.2% for Q2 2011 over Q2 2010. Compare that to the total retail sales number (both bricks and mortar and clicks and mortar stores) of only 8.4% growth in the same period and it becomes obvious that more and more businesses are focusing on expansion in their online presence.
With online shopping in Australia forecast to rise to $18 Billion by 2014, retailers need to understand what consumers like about shopping online in order to tailor their online store presence to deliver the perfect shopping experience. Understanding the consumers motivations to buy is the first step towards providing them with the right combination of product and offer to ensure your business is the site of choice.
Why Do People Shop Online?
There are several reasons that people shop online, here are just a few of the main ones:
Price: People expect to get a better deal online than in a traditional store. The modern consumer is savvy enough to understand that the lower costs associated with the online marketplace should direct relate to lower prices to the customer.
Convenience: There’s nothing quite like being able to browse your favourite items whenever the time suits you, or the freedom to spend as long as you like comparing items or looking for competitive offers without the pressure of the pushy salesperson over your shoulder. Give people an interface that allows them to do exactly that and they’ll keep coming back.
Free Shipping: More and more, free shipping or deals on shipping are becoming the norm on the internet. Especially when you consider services like the Australia Post e-Parcel system, logistics companies are becoming better and more efficient at providing the logistics services to your enabled online store. Free shipping can be a good promotional tool to entice customers to complete that checkout.
Demography: Those people for whom the internet wasn’t to be trusted in the last decade are slowing coming around to accept the ubiquitous nature of the internet. Thanks to trusted services like Paypal, people are gaining more trust in paying for goods online which is creating a bigger marketplace of online shoppers for vendors to sell their wares to.
Mobile: 35% of Australians now own a smart phone or tablet device – that’s a whopping 7.7 million people! Without a doubt, mobile is the next big thing and it’s here to stay. People are now price comparing items in-store on their smartphones and often abandoning in-store purchases for a more attractive internet purchase.
So, be sure to capitalise on this growing trend towards online stores in the marketplace. This trend is only going to increase as more and more consumers start to exercise the choices available to them online rather than in-store. If you already have a showroom, you will find that your online store is a great place for people to research before buying in-store, people these days don’t look the phone number on your flyer/brochure/billboard etc, rather they simply remember your company name and then search the internet to see your site. Once they get there, are you presenting the best virtual shop front that you could?