We have all been online at some point suffering from analysis paralysis worrying about making the right purchase for everything from basketball shoes to Imported Mexican Vanilla (my family buys Vanilla from Mexico online frequently). Shoppers are constantly contemplating “am I paying too much for the product?”, “am I buying this from a real company?”, and “is this product something I really want?” when they shop online. Since the advent of eCommerce in the 90’s, folks have become internet savvy and better prepared to operate in an online based world. As a result, Forrester Research has forecasted that online sales will cross the $200 Billion mark in 2012 in the U.S. alone.
The average online shopper is more comfortable purchasing online due to the following factors, in no particular order:
Shopping online is widely accepted by society because it is convenient.
Because of innovations like fast food, home shopping network, and the advent of the remote control, we are geared for the low road, always taking the path of least resistance. Long gone are the days of having to spend hours in line on Black Friday to get good deals on gadgets, clothes, or whatever else you may want to risk getting trampled for. You can sit in the comfort of your temperature controlled home (the day after Thanksgiving in Utah is about 35 degrees) enjoying family, football, and leftovers. You can buy pretty much anything on the internet. I used to work at eBay, trust me.
A lion’s share of the time, you can find it for cheaper online.
My company recently asked me to procure a laptop for myself for work and I didn’t even have to look around for very long and I found an amazing deal on a Samsung Laptop that was cost effective, and delivered to our doorstep in four days. It was 30% less than any of the other retailers I found and I didn’t spend one dime on gas looking for it. Daily deals, auction sites, and classifieds are all great sources for finding great deals. (I found mine on a daily deal site: Woot.com)
Shopping online offers the same level of security and safety as shopping offline.
Because shoppers are given little choice but to pay through the website owner’s online merchant account or existing funds in a PayPal/Google account, the level of safety and protection enjoyed by shoppers is greater than ever before. If you don’t get your products, they are misrepresented, or even broken, buyers can work out a deals with the merchant, the bank, or the company shipping the product. The options for buyers range from store credits, to refunds, to working with the card company to file claims for lost or non-delivered goods. One could even make the case that the greatest level of risk is assumed by merchants who can even be defrauded through credit card theft and other unsavory measures. Buyers can rest assured that most eCommerce hosting providers adhere to the banking and payment card industry’s highest security standards.
In summary, the greatest business and communications medium of the last 70 years, the internet, allows us to reach consumers in ways never thought possible and do so conveniently, economically, and safely.