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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : January 16, 2015

Consumers say they prefer to shop online, but do they?

What shoppers say they do, and what they actually do, is not always the same, according to recent research from the IBM Institute for Business Value.

by Helen Leggatt

For the report 'Shoppers disrupted: Retailing through the noise', IBM analyzed the the responses to 110,000 answers to global surveys from 2011 to 2014 to discover how changing customer behavior translates into "must-haves" for retailers.

The stand-out "must-have" was online shopping. However, IBM's analysis revealed that, while 43% of consumers said they prefer to shop online, just 29% actually made their most recent purchase online.

In some categories, such as youth clothing and home décor, the gap between shoppers' interest in online shopping and their actual purchasing behavior extends to 20 percentage points. This disparity, says IBM, suggests consumers' expectations are not being met by the reality of online shopping.

"Retailers may not be doing enough to meet consumer expectations shaped by digital experiences outside of retail--from location-based services to preference-based apps," said Sarah Diamond, GM of IBM Global Business Services, adding that "the good news is that this gap also indicates the potential of growth for retailers who can meet those consumer expectations".

Other key findings from the analysis include:

- 60% of shoppers said it's important to be able to make sure an item is in stock before heading out to a physical store;

- 46% said it's important that retail employees use mobile devices to fix an out-of-stock issue, up from 40% last year;

- 48% want on-demand, personalized promotions while online; 44% want the same in the store.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: ecommerce, online shopping, retail

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