Online Shopping – Cracking the Codes

4 min read by Charlie Taylor 15 Aug 2014


StrategiQ Marketing Explore the Trends Behind Online Shopping

The way we shop is a consistently relevant subject for retailers, who must ever be vigilant of dramatic changes in shopping trends. The development and exponential growth of online shopping as a valid platform for people to purchase their goods, has seen retailers and service providers efficaciously overhaul their approaches to online shopping.

But what are consumers spending their money on? According to surveys, 69% of goods bought online fell into the category of Consumer Electronics. The online market for such goods was amply highlighted by last year’s massively-hyped, simultaneous releases of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, when moments after their announcements, hoards of fans jumped online to preorder their consoles. Sheer volumes of orders were at such a high that the likes of online shopping behemoth, Amazon were unable to satisfy demand, leaving many disappointed consumers waiting far beyond the initially quoted release date.

Other high volume categories included Books (67%) and Clothing & Apparel (63%), whilst only 20% of consumers shopped for their groceries online. The statistics prove that despite the relative ease and availability of online grocery retailers, consumers are still inclined towards purchasing their grocery goods in store, advocating possible objections to handling of goods or possible logistical issues.

Online Shopping2 Edited

With such possible objections consistently finding credibility amongst consumers, the question remains as to why we WOULD shop online? The answers are unsurprisingly obvious, all proposing one unescapable factor: ease. Whether evoking logistical ease or simply the removal of crowds and queues, online shopping has effectively expelled much of the inconvenience that has been associated with shopping for so long.

Products and retailers have increasingly recognised this overwhelming desire for ease, heavily investing in relevant technology to promote a seamless experience built to expedite the shopping process. Online shopping, as such has developed at an astonishing rate, making the successful transition from a PC-centric experience to one built upon mobile trends. Surveys suggest that 39% of UK online shoppers do so via a smartphone, with 37% using tablets to conduct their shopping.

Of course, examining the growing trend of ease is only really scratching the surface of the leviathan that is online shopping. The subject has become laden with myths and trends as to how consumers engage with and make use of the technology supposedly to the benefit of digital marketers, but it is clear that these so-called insights are to the detriment of those strategising online content. For example, 78% of online shoppers didn’t bother to look for their product in store first, heavily discrediting an oft accepted (but ultimately erroneous) insight into shopper behaviour. The incredibly differing habits between Male and Female online shoppers also serves to highlight the remarkable disparity in how people shop.

In many ways, online shopping is a deeply personal routine, mirroring the individual manners in which we shop in general. To ask marketers to predict and strategise shoppers habits as a whole is a tall order indeed. It is however, the responsibility of marketers and retailers to stay vigilant to the ever changing trends and not be foolhardy enough to accept the common myths of the industry as fact.

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