How Customers Shop Online and 5 Factors That Make People More Likely to Buy a Product or Service
We use the internet for everything these days, and often it’s our first port of call when we’re posed with a question that we don’t have the answer to right away. Increasingly, many of us are turning to the online space and digital platforms to conduct research about products and services, to better inform us before we make a final purchase decision.
And while this online research is growing in popularity, in-store purchases still reign supreme. However, digital channels, according to Effective Measure, have emerged as the “pointer to the destination of final sale transactions”, both for online and offline purchases.
And users aren’t just using the internet to research what’s out there; they’re using it to compare features, benefits and price points, which is growing in importance as shoppers’ budgets remain under pressure.
Indeed, Effective Measure found that the internet is empowering users to look globally and research heavily while still purchasing locally.
Part 1: How Customers Shop Online How are they researching?
The Consumer Barometer Survey 2014/15 says that 58% of shoppers first became aware of the product they purchased while conducting research online via a website or app, while 55% of shoppers compared their choices online.
Of the online research, majority of shoppers surveyed said they had turned to search engines to inform them of their purchase decision (45%), while 26% said they conducted online research on a brand/product website.
Interestingly, majority of shoppers said that they only started collecting information to inform their purchase moments before they made their final purchase, with only a tiny 4% stating that they had been collecting information for more than a month before they purchased.
Where do they make their purchase?
While majority of purchase research was conducted online, the Consumer Barometer shows that most people are still purchasing in-store (57%), with 30% of respondents saying they purchased online.
What did people do after they made a purchase?
While majority of shoppers (78%) said they didn’t take any actions online after making a purchase, 10% said they shared their purchase experiences on social networks, and 9% said they posted a review or rating about the product online.
Part 2 What influences them to make a decision?
- 83% are more likely to buy/act if it includes free delivery
At a time when bricks-and-mortar stores remain more popular for making purchases than online stores, e-retailers must look for ways to increase their online sales.
US based website Internet Retailer found that 83% of customers said they would purchase from an online store if it offered free shipping. This is pretty obvious why – ‘free’ is a pretty powerful word in the marketing and advertising world.
Offering free shipping works for businesses, too, if they encourage customers to make a minimum purchase before the free shipping option becomes available to them.
- 54% of shoppers are more likely to buy if the price is dropped
A 2014 survey from Visual Website Optimiser found that 54% of shoppers will purchase products left in their shopping card if those products are offered at a lower price. The key takeaway? Discounts will win back customers.
Online stores can implement this by offering lower prices at the start. For example, they can encourage shoppers to sign up to their newsletter and receive $10.00 off their first order.
- 63% of customers more likely to purchase from a site which has user reviews
While only a small number of customers are leaving online reviews post-purchase (9%, according to the Consumer Barometer), research from Econsultancy shows that majority of shoppers (61%) read these online reviews before making a final purchase decision. This means that e-commerce sites need to make the most of reviews and encourage their shoppers to post them. One way to do this is to offer a small discount on customers’ next purchase if they leave one.
Another added benefit of user reviews is that consumer reviews are perceived to be more trustworthy than marketing descriptions. It’s the notion of social proof – that we are more likely to trust the opinion of our peers and other people similar to us.
- Four in Five shoppers buy more from businesses whose cards they hold
According to Choice, four in five shoppers tend to buy more from businesses whose cards they hold, and 55% if shoppers say that when presented with a choice of two similar companies, they’ll go for the one with the loyalty program. For shoppers, loyalty programs provide a better deal on purchases, and businesses can amass huge amounts of valuable customer data.
- 23% of shoppers will abandon their cart if they have to create a new user account
Some websites are so eager to sign up more members, that they only let users browse or buy once they’ve created an account. However, in doing so, they’re losing out on a lot of conversions, because a lot of the time, shoppers just want to make a purchase and leave.
To overcome this, websites should create a guest checkout option. The more straightforward the checkout, the less time the consumer has to change their mind about their purchase or abandon their cart.
Online stores also need to ensure that their checkout pages are easy to understand and use, so as to avoid shopper frustration and cart abandonment. Baymard Institute’s research into e-commerce checkouts found that majority of websites don’t make it clear on their checkout pages which fields are mandatory and optional to fill out, which leads to unnecessary form errors and confusion.