Monday 29 October, 2012

How People Shop Online – Online Shopping Trends

If you have an ecommerce store, you need to get inside your shoppers’ heads. You have to seek feedback from them and know what they think and feel about your products. You’ve also got to understand the psychology of online shopping. In many ways it’s similar to offline shopping, but in some ways strikingly different. Here are a few recent findings about online shopping behavior that you can work into your ecommerce strategy.

Social Media Icons

 It’s good to have Facebook and Twitter icons on your ecommerce site, right? A study by the University of Miami School of Business Administration says it might not be. What the study found specifically is that the presence of social media icons influences customer behavior – sometimes in good ways, sometimes in bad.

The impact these icons have is that they make shoppers feel like they’re being watched. There are some items you don’t want people to know you’re buying, and others you don’t care about. When you see social media icons, you automatically think – are my friends going to see this? In most niches, this is no problem. But if you’re selling adult diapers or certain kinds of, ahem, male medications, you might want to take the icons off.

Price Matters

A report in The New York Times says that how you price your online items may make a huge difference. It showed that if a page shows two differently priced items, the lower priced item will usually sell better than the higher priced one. If you have Item A for $100 and Item B for $150, you can expect to sell more of Item A. But if you add a higher priced Item C at $200, you’ll see a boost in shoppers opting for Item B, even though its price hasn’t changed.

This is actually not unique to online shopping. It’s a basic principle of behavioral economics and a sales technique that’s widely used. But for an ecommerce site, it means that how you present differently priced items on the page can make a difference.

All Your Friends Are Buying It

Social media also makes another huge difference in how people shop online. It’s the power of peer pressure. When people see that their friends purchased an item, this is extremely powerful. If they’re on the fence, it pushes them off. If they’re insecure, it gives them security. It’s also a good example of classic word-of-mouth – if a friend bought it, it must be good.

There are widgets that you can install on your site that show whether their social media friends bought from you, liked your site, shared your site’s content, etc.

Online Reviews

The word-of-mouth idea also comes into play when it comes to online reviews. Surveys say various things, but all of them report that an overwhelming majority of online shoppers read reviews before buying. In fact, offline shoppers do as well. It’s not uncommon these days to see someone consulting an online review site on their smartphone before making a purchase in a brick-and-mortar store.

Do we shop differently when we go online? Yes, we do. It’s because the entire experience is different. You can’t touch and see up-close what you’re buying. Meanwhile, you have a wealth of information available in the form of online reviews and social media. Understand your buyers’ shopping psychology and you’ll easily know how to boost sales.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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