Online shopping has taken the retail world by storm since consumers love the convenience of buying and receiving a wide variety of items in their homes. National retailers make the experience more enjoyable and expedient with easy shipping options and no sales taxes in some cases. Shopping on the Internet has become part of everyday life, and a recent shopping survey shows some surprising facts about the online retail habits of ordinary Americans.
The 2015 "Consumers Tell All" shopping survey from Bronto Software queried 1,000 Americans about their shopping habits. Perhaps the most surprising result was that 30 percent of men engage in online shopping compared to 18 percent of women. Jim Davidson, head of research for Bronto Software, called the finding "surprising."
The survey provides insight into how the two genders define online shopping. Men shop for items online to research reviews and look for sales. Whether they make a purchase or not, they consider these actions part of the online retail experience. Men view shopping as the activity that occurs when they visit a product page, add a product to a shopping cart and continue with the checkout process. Men may also peruse mobile apps, compare prices and research social media before buying, and all of these activities they consider "shopping."
Women, on the other hand, often define online shopping as the physical purchase of an item. Because they actively shop more often than men, women tend to see the process differently. More experienced shoppers separate the research process from the physical buying of an item when discussing e-commerce habits. Looking at sales, reading Facebook reviews and talking to friends about the latest baby clothes are social aspects of shopping to women and different than the physical act of handing over money.
Other trends reveal 61 percent of shoppers prefer mobile Web browsers for online shopping, versus 39 percent who want shopping apps. The reason for this is due to larger screen on smartphones, plus mobile Internet searches offer more freedom and flexibility to search. Web browsers are also more familiar to most, and shoppers are more used to the way they operate.
Shoppers on the West Coast are more likely to shop online than consumers in the rest of the country, and 76 percent of West Coast shoppers use a smartphone. As much as 66 percent of these customers shop online at least once per month, versus 58 percent, the lowest percentage, for the Midwest.
The trick for retailers is to make the online experience as seamless as possible. Consumers do not want to pay an extra $5 for two-day shipping and often prefer a "ship to store" option. Shoppers like to be able to pick up purchases at 24-hour stores whenever they shop for everyday items such as food or toiletries. Closing the sale relies on customer engagement when the shopper is online looking for a bargain, and big data is a part of that process.
Online shopping saves time and money for people on the go. When companies streamline the process and make it more attractive for men and women, everybody wins.
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