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Reputation and detail matter to online shoppers

Consumers prefer detailed product information compared with flashy images on websites.

Anything connected to the internet -- from smartphones to power plant controllers — can be manipulated. — Photo: © DJC
Anything connected to the internet -- from smartphones to power plant controllers — can be manipulated. — Photo: © DJC

New research has probes what is most important to consumers when shopping online. This comes from the business technology company Intact, who conducted a survey of more than 1,000 consumers to understand the British public’s perceptions of online marketplaces and what has the biggest effect on their purchasing habits.

The primary goal of a business is to offer product and services that best serve their consumer needs, but there are variations with how this is done and presented and there are particular factors that can affect consumer behaviour.

The research discovered that 76 percent of shoppers indicated they would rather pay more on a website they know than receive a discount on a site they are not familiar with. This indicates that brand awareness or retailer support (and reputation) carries a greater degree of significance than deals.

This is supported by the finding that less than half of consumers (45 percent ) saying price was the most important factor in online shopping. In addition, other aspects of the purchase process are important when it comes to on-line shopping. This is borne out by 57 percent of shoppers indicating they would never buy from a retailer which does not offer free returns.

There are other elements of the retail process that matter as well, especially the protections around secure online payments. These stand as the biggest factor (cited by 71 percent of survey respondents) affecting online purchase decisions.

Other factors are fast delivery (at 57 percent), free delivery/returns (57 percent) and easy checkout (41 percent).

As to what else consumers are looking for in terms of online experiences, adequate information stands high. This includes obtaining detailed product descriptions (at 62 percent). This is something that is rated as more important to shoppers than quality product images (mentioned by only 29 percent) of people.

As well as detailed descriptions, ratings also count. Here, over half (53 percent) of consumers value high review scores from past buyers, while 58 percent indicated that review comments affected their purchase choices.

Counterfeit items stand high as a worry for online considers, which probably loops back to the responses in relation to reputable websites. Shoppers’ biggest concern (as mentioned by 61 percent) is that items might be fake and they will not be able to return them.

The survey was conducted in the context of the most-visited online marketplaces and for the most-shopped categories of goods across online marketplaces, from fashion to collectables.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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