How People Shop Online

by | Mar 18, 2018 | How People Use The Internet

In this lesson we will go though how people shop online. Why is this so important for you to invest your time and study? Well this lesson improves your understanding about the billions of people that use the internet every day. It will give you a bigger picture about their habits for you to devise a plan on how you can turn these users into your customers.

People shop for more and more of the things they need and want using the Internet. Brick and mortar shopping experiences, particularly at malls, are declining rapidly. Stores that want to be successful long term need to embrace eCommerce and online lead generation to remain viable as the Internet plays a bigger role in shopping.

As this shift happens from in store to online there are some challenges that shoppers need to overcome:

  1. Determining which products or services to purchase
  2. Determining which store to do business with
  3. Assessing the level of trust to place in an online or storefront merchant
  4. Paying for their order
  5. Understanding when products will arrive

Each of these challenges has a few different solutions and varies depending on what the shopper wants to buy. Buying a flight and hotel for a trip is a lot different than buying diapers or an engagement ring.

Here is some insight in to how shoppers solve each of these areas in an online experience.

Determining which products or services to purchase

Most customers will start in one of four places:

  1. Google search
  2. Yelp, Angie's List, or another business directory
  3. Amazon
  4. An online map

Shoppers generally start by searching for what it is they want, like "Tacos" or "Diapers" or "Engagement Rings". If they are trying to decide what types of Tacos or Diapers they want to buy they'll just look at some search results before moving on. Eventually the searches will get specific to a product or a location.

Determining which store to do business with

If the shopper doesn't already have a merchant they want to purchase from they will again turn to Google, Yelp, Angie's List, or a map. On Google they will generally add keywords like "near me" or "Houston" or "stores" to make the results a little more relevant. On a map they will simply look for stores near their location or routes they often travel.

What they are trying to do now is determine what merchants are near them (or online) and which stores they can TRUST.

Assessing the level of trust

The method shoppers use to assess trust is to look for reviews and star ratings for the stores that come up in a search. Start ratings and review counts are often shown on Google search results and sometimes on maps or mapping apps.

We refer to the websites or apps that show star-ratings and reviews as Social Trust Platforms and they are very important to your store. Shoppers generally look for 4 star average ratings or higher with 5 or more reviews. If your store isn't this highly rated it will likely be skipped by shoppers.

Paying for their order

Most stores do not consider how significant a hurdle paying for an order is for consumers. In the United States most people are able to pay with credit cards or debit cards and use them to make online purchases. Some will prefer to pay with PayPal to keep their payment information at just one place. As a store or eCommerce business making payment as easy as possible for shoppers is extremely important.

Understanding when products will arrive

In-store purchases often result in a customer leaving with the product or understanding when to expect service. When someone purchases online it can be more difficult to understand these things since the only shopping interaction was with a website or app. Asking for shipping details is one of the most common customer service questions that online stores recieve. At Amazon they even have a name for it "Where's my stuff?"

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In this lesson we will go though how people search…