The tremendous growth of the Internet has created opportunities for consumers and firms to participate in an online global marketplace. We foresee that advances in eCommerce dramatically alter the structure of businesses, especially in the marketing area.
Online shopping is the process by which consumers purchase products or services over the Internet. It combines technology and traditional retail to create a form of virtual store. The online shopping process has three key components; interactivity, transaction and fulfillment. And most of online shoppers has common preferences below.
Fast or Free Shipping?
Given the attention focused on premium shipping, you might think that online shoppers prefer the fastest possible delivery options. For example, while Amazon Prime includes many services its free two-day shipping is one of the most promoted features. Industry research, customer surveys, and the experience of online merchants indicate otherwise, however.
A research found that while 1/3 of shoppers pay a fee for faster delivery, 2/3 choose the most economical shipping option. Others industry research shows the preferences for fast versus free shipping differs depending on when the option is considered. An infographic by eFulfillment Service summarizes data from various industry sources to illustrate these differences:
- 67% of online shoppers choose the cheapest (free) shipping method while just 2% choose the fastest (paid) method.
- 78% of shoppers say the most important option at checkout is free shipping and 38% say it is expedited shipping.
- Free shipping is the number 2 top reason consumers revisit ecommerce websites, but fast shipping ranks number 14.
- 74% say offer free shipping and 9% say same day delivery are ways to improve the consumer shopping experience.
Overall, more than half of online shoppers seem more interested in free shipping options than fast shipping options though it would be a mistake to offer free shipping exclusively. Industry data suggests between one-quarter and one-third of online shoppers prefer a fast shipping option – even when a free option is available – so it’s important to offer a variety of shipping options so they can choose an option that best matches their preference each time they purchase.
Mass customization has become important to business because of the difficulties for customers in finding what they want despite an increase in product variety for many categories over the past decades. The emergence of modern technologies in production and communication, however, allows companies to offer customised products and services without relinquishing economies of scale. The advent of web interfaces has finally given the opportunity to achieve completely the involvement of the customer in the product’s entire design process. The results of our survey on more than 500 European customers show a declining willingness of customers to compromise on the issue of suitability of products to their personal needs and preferences, the possibility for companies to break brand loyalty through mass customization and the influence of immediate availability, delivery time and price on the customer’s willingness to take part in the co-creation process of products.
Desktop Still Important but Mobile has Shortcomings
Despite the increase in overall eCommerce transactions via mobile, desktop is still the dominant mode of making purchases online. Additionally, 41 percent of respondents said they prefer a retailer’s full website versus a mobile website (34 percent) or mobile app (25 percent).
This is likely due to mobile’s shortcomings, as 43 percent of respondents shop on their desktop computers rather than smartphones because they can’t get clear or large enough images of the products. Comparatively, 34 percent of online consumers report not being able to easily view product information as a reason they shop on their desktops.
Less is Sometimes Better Than More
Online shopping sites vying for customers in a busy holiday season might be tempted to cram their web pages with a variety of images of gift choices. After all, it stands to reason that giving shoppers more options should make them more likely to purchase. But it turns out that more is not necessarily merrier. Displaying too many images can actually overwhelm consumers and make them stop shopping.
Someone tested the effect of product variety and complexity on “choice overload,” which happens when an overwhelmed shopper gives up. In a series of five experiments, they found that people preferred to look at images rather than read product descriptions when they are shopping. So it is good for shopping sites to make heavy use of pictures. People also perceived visual images as having more variety — whether or not it was true — and they preferred having more choices rather than fewer.
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