A new survey released by a top shopping comparison website makes worthwhile reading for retailers with an interest in better understanding the influence online shopping.
Identifying the online shopping habits and behaviours of over 3000 consumers who visited its site, the getprice.com.au 2011 shopping survey highlighted numerous online retail gaps for local retailers.
The survey analysed the Australian online space in the wake of the recent “war” between online and offline retail channels, said Getprice CEO Chris Hitchen.
“This report went further and identified clear gaps and issues that offline retailers should be focusing on in order to work together with online retail channels to create the best retail experience for the consumer,” he said.
The report also exposed a gap between online retail reality and consumer expectations; while 80 per cent of the sample rated ‘retailer websites’ as their top resource to research and shop online, in terms of actual usefulness during this process, retailer websites only ranked fifth.
Collectively, 61 per cent of the sample indicated that they were researching and shopping online for products on a weekly basis. Furthermore, though the majority of the sample indicated that they researched and shopped online in order to get the best price, other reasons which rated highly included: ‘to save time’, ‘the easiest way to compare offers’, ‘can shop after hours’ and ‘can take as long as I want’.
While consumers indicated they preferred to purchase ‘Books & DVDs’, ‘Adult’, ‘Gifts and Wine’ and ‘Kids & Toys’ online, products such as ‘Cars’, ‘Auto Accessories’ and ‘Clothing & Fashion’ were preferably bought offline, the main reason for this being a preference for touching, feeling and seeing certain products prior to purchasing them.
The survey results indicated retailers might be missing an opportunity to capture and maintain traffic on their own websites, because their online experience did not meet consumer’s expectations. While the research showed that consumers were increasingly turning to comparison sites once they had made their decision to purchase, the retailer still held sway with consumers during the researching phase. As a result, a quick, easy and compelling experience via a retailer’s website had the potential to result in on-the-spot sales conversions.
“Consumers will be loyal if you deliver strong customer service and are relevant and valuable throughout the shopping process. That means connecting more effectively with shoppers on social media sites, your own website and mobile applications,” said Hitchen.
Around 47 per cent of the sample accessed the internet through their mobile devices – iPhone being the far and away winner.