In one of my earlier posts on The Virtual High Street, I mentioned that depending on what I'm shopping for, like many users I sometimes identify the product offline and then look for a bargain online, but as that wouldn't be limited to high street retailers I felt it was better explored in another post. Anyway to take that topic further, I'm going to look a little closer at the reasons that drive customers to browse offline without buying, only to then buy online (usually somewhere else) instead of in-store.
Here's my 10 reasons for buying online
- Bargains / cheaper prices (through general search and via shopping bots)
- Validate product/item quality and function (via online information and reviews before buying)
- Avoid in-store/cashier queues
- Delivery rather than carry home on buses / trains (convenience)
- Search for variant availability in other stores
- Leverage online promotions / vouchers
- Easier payment through one-click accounts (e.g. Amazon)
- Accessories for product listings
- Related product listings and "Other people bought this" type information
- Auto-history of purchases - leading to seller recommendations
The first 6 are more functional and the next 4 are more experiential. The functional drivers probably have greater impact at the moment, with point number 1 easily being the most important. I'll explore these further in my next few posts.