Online versus Offline Shopping
With the emergence of credit cards, Paypal and many other forms of digital methods of payment coupled with the “Online Showrooms” such as e-Bay, Amazon and many more people are now being seen to shop online for products that people would have had to go to a regular store to check out and shop for.
In a recent study made by CALTECH(California Technological Institute) which studied the way consumers would respond to product descriptions, images, and its actual physical appearance in relation to their willingness to pay for the products based on each of these variations.
It was discovered that the behavior of these consumers would not differ with the way they saw a product description as compared to when they see an image of the product. What changed though was how they would react to a product when they could physically see, touch and at times smell the product. It is when their senses were involved that Caltech saw an increase in motivation to buy the items that were being shown to them by 50%.
Caltech reported that consumers would respond better to a product that was “physically present” as compared to those that they can simply see in a catalogue online. It thus became obvious that consumers would respond differently to certain types of products online as compared to those being presented to them in the stores. People would be more enticed to purchase mobile phones online such as that demonstrated by the pre-orders made of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and now the iPhone 5. However when it comes to purchasing a vehicle, furniture, and certain food and clothing, consumers are more likely to purchase these in person rather than going through an online selection.
Online shopping has its perks though as compared to that of offline shopping when it comes to convenience, perks and price. Online shopping is able to provide discounts and allows users to easily compare prices with other providers or products without having to be physically present. All these can also be done through mobile phones just as much as it can be done through the pcs making it even more accessible for everyone to shop at their convenience whenever and where ever they choose.
Overall, both online and offline retailers have to factor in how a product is presented as this has an important role in consumer behavior. The consumers also have to develop a bond of trust with the brands first prior to them trusting to purchasing items through the online channels. Taking the advantages and disadvantages of both shopping methodologies and consumer behavior results it would be wise for industries that rely on either of these marketing methods to find a marriage of the two to take advantage of gaining the upper hand in getting the consumer’s favor. Once you are able to do so it is guaranteed that your business shall gain an upper hand in terms of consumer sales.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ron Jacobsen is an advocate of business and technology and writes about how shopping has evolved comparing offline and online shopping. Civicom is a leader in the marketing research industry using the latest in marketing research software and technology in facilitating in-depth interviews, online focus groups, and mystery shopping.