Because consumer tastes are quickly changing, keeping a finger on the pulse of shifts in purchasing behaviors and preferences is of utmost importance.
The online market is constantly evolving and it is up to eCommerce companies to stay on top of the latest and emerging trends to ensure they are implementing the best, most effective end-to-end solutions possible. Because consumer tastes are quickly changing, keeping a finger on the pulse of shifts in purchasing behaviors and preferences is of the utmost importance.
By honing in on what technologies, channels and eCommerce platforms shoppers are using most frequently to find, research, compare and order products, internet sellers can gain a competitive advantage and adjust their business models readily and appropriately.
It's not news that consumers are turning toward online shopping at increasing rates. However, the acceleration of eCommerce activity has proceeded so far that people aren't just looking at the ability to make online purchases as a convenience; they are starting to perceive it as a necessity.
Online outweighs offline shopping
Kelton Global and Bigcommerce recently teamed up to conduct a study of more than 1,000 American consumers to gain a better understanding of their eCommerce spending patterns, Women's Wear Daily reported. According to the source, the research findings revealed:
Nearly all, or 96 percent, of U.S. residents are making purchases online
36 percent of shopping budgets are being dedicated to eCommerce
Consumers are spending, on average, five hours a week ePurchasing
80 percent place an online order at least once a month
30 percent make a web-based purchase at least once a week
What may be most alarming to learn, though, is that the majority of the study's participants agreed that they consider online shopping to be more of a basic necessity of their lives than media streams or their smartphones' navigation systems.
Furthermore, this increase in internet purchasing activity is even more evident when examined by specific generational segments. For example, according to the study, half of millennials' spending budgets are used for online shopping, with 67 percent saying they would rather make a transaction on an eCommerce platform than go into a store to buy something. And this sentiment is shared with other generations as well, with more than half of Generation X saying the same, 41 percent of Baby Boomers and 28 percent of seniors.
Considering the incredible growth and widespread adoption eCommerce is experiencing among consumers, companies now have a strategic opportunity to expand their selling platforms to reach more customers through channels they are most likely to already be using.
The when, where and why of online shopping
In order to truly optimize its eCommerce platform and develop turnkey solutions for more effective selling, it is helpful for a business to consider not just who is doing the purchasing, but how they are. For example, WWD said that 43 percent of the study's participants reported having placed an order while they were in bed and a quarter did so from a physical store location. Additionally, 10 percent of consumers revealed that they had made an online purchase under the influence of alcohol. And, according to Business 2 Community contributor Tracey Wallace, nearly 30 percent of shoppers belonging to Generation Y and X admitted to making an online purchase from their respective places of work.
The reasons why shoppers may choose to place an order from an eCommerce site rather than visit the brick-and-mortar store vary. But it's safe to say that a large factor is how convenient it is. One might assume, then, that consumers are shopping online more in areas where there isn't a nearby location to visit. However, Wallace also revealed that those living in medium or large-sized metro cities spend more money a year on eCommerce purchases than those who live in suburban or rural areas.
What they want more of
Considering the information cited above, it's easy to see why sellers should be investing in eCommerce platforms to gain greater market share. However, simply making the decision to sell online isn't enough to ensure success. In today's highly competitive and ever-evolving environment, it would serve companies well to pay critical mind to not only what shoppers like and prefer about internet shopping, but what they aren't getting enough of.
Wallace highlighted some statistics that showcase the vast array of issues, concerns and problems online consumers have expressed, which include:
The majority of shoppers have changed their mind about purchasing a product due to the cost of shipping
More than half of internet shoppers wish eCommerce sites would use more images and reviews
30 percent of online shoppers say they would appreciate the use of videos on eRetail sites
42 percent want eCommerce websites to feature more customer testimonials
34 percent cited the difficult process of returning items as a source of frustration with online purchasing
21 percent of U.S. consumers get annoyed by eCommerce platforms that aren't visually appealing or easy to use
Using this information can help guide businesses in developing end-to-end solutions for their selling strategies and identifying which eCommerce software and technologies are most worth investing in.