Monday, November 5, 2007

Online shoppers want smooth shopping, free delivery and bargains

Online shoppers find site search the most useful element of a retail web site by a wide margin, says a new consumer survey from consultants and researchers The E-tailing Group Inc. In fact keyword search, rated “very to most important” by 80% of consumers in the survey, and advanced search functionality, rated so by 67%, were the most highly ranked web site features.Next was product comparison tools, also at 67%, and customer ratings and reviews, at 60%.

Consumers use such tools frequently in their online shopping, the survey reports. 65% research products online before making gift purchases, 74% typically comparison shop three sites or more before making a purchase, 60% search directly at a favored merchant, and 54% browse multiple online stores before completing a purchase.

Consumers, no surprise, value bargains: 86% want free shipping and 76% want sales and specials, the E-tailing study reports. And they rank streamlined shopping highly. 69% want a perpetual shopping cart and 60% want one-page checkout.

What The E-tailing Group dubs “gifting tools” also are growing in importance to online shoppers. 47% want to be able to buy gift cards online vs. 43% a year ago; 41% want to send the different elements of a purchase to different addresses vs. 33% a year ago; and 31% want to create wish lists vs. 26% a year ago.

The survey of 1,500 online consumers who responded to an online questionnaire, also showed:

• 68% plan to spend about the same as last year;

• 44% anticipate spending in the $100-$500 range; 44% over $500;

• 53% intend to purchase 16 or more gifts;

• 74% expect to purchase about the same number of gifts online as last year.

The questionnaire, conducted by The E-tailing Group in October 2007 in conjunction with StartSampling, also asked consumers to name positive or negative experiences about shopping online. As positives, consumers cited free shipping and bargains; as negatives, high shipping costs or other shipping problems, return problems and out-of-stocks. But on a bright note, the E-tailing Group reported that more than half said they had had too many good experiences to name one or had not experienced anything too terrible while shopping online.

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piyush_bakshi said...

I think those who find site search the most useful element are taking the FAQs for granted. The FAQs are basically critical for ensuring that a visitor has a good shopping/navigating experience with a site.

Overall, I think this research is groundbreaking as it tells a lot about the direction that e-businesses will take.

It is invaluable data for deciding the type of business-software you want for your e-business.

Anna said...

We sell below-retail priced designer fashion accessories. We've found the average order is about $200 each. We agree shoppers want deeper discounts, free shipping and we've added NO sales tax this year! Hope we can keep our shoppers happy. We've been online for about 12 years. Named Best of the Web by People StyleWatch Magazine! Thanks for the info. Very nice validation. From the folks who keep

salegrab said...

SaleGrab lists top sales and bargains from top 300 or so US retailers. For a bargain hunter... a paradise I think.