Monday, 16 June 2008

4 Experiential Reasons for Buying Online

Apart from the functional reasons for buying online, there are some other compelling reasons for buying online rather than in-store, related to usability and social interaction. These are the new behaviours that consumers are taking for granted as an integral part of the shopping experience and one that offline stores are completely failing to replicate
  1. Easier payment through one-click accounts (e.g. Amazon)
    Who wants go through the whole business of queuing, waiting for someone else to scan and pack your product, handing cards over and waiting for it to register chip and pin and so on, when you can simply select the item, click once and then sit back and wait for it to turn up? Why don't stores have this facility?
  2. Accessories for product listings I find this very useful online.
    If I buy a camera in-store at PC World, I get a camera, but absolutely no information to help me consider useful accessories. If I buy the same product on their website I get a list of accessories that supplement that product – appropriate lenses, cases, leads, cards etc
  3. Related product listings and “Other people bought this” type information
    Similar to above, I like shopping for things in spaces where I'm provided with ideas for complementary items. If I'm buying a badminton racket, then what about related bags, shoes, apparel, shuttles etc. I don't want to have to walk around some sports super-store to find the matching bag in the bag section, or shoes in the shoe section etc. If I'm buying jeans I want to see shoes or t-shirts that might go well – ok so I personally am not enough of a shopper to care about this on a clothes front, but I can imagine a whole bunch of people who do, and sometimes knowing what other people bought is excellent fodder for shopping ideas.
  4. Auto-history of purchases – leading to seller recommendations
    The problem with buying in-store, even from the same store, is that there is no history of what you bought. What if you wanted the same item you bought two years ago, but can't remember what it's called? What if you don't really know what you want to buy, but just feel like a quick bit of retail therapy? Isn't it great to be able to go onto your Amazon store and see lists of items that might just be interesting based on things you've bought before? Buying on website like this is like walking into a shop to buy an iPod, and the shop floor assistant suggesting an iRiver because it's more compatible with the speaker system you bought last week, and then handing you a selection of music that you just might like. How convenient, and how much more of an incentive to check the product out online after seeing it in-store.

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