To Win Online Holiday Shoppers, Emphasize Convenience

Dec 05, 2006 10:33 PM  By

Convenience, not price, is a key driver of online holiday shoppers this season, according to marketing and research firm Questus. As we get closer to Christmas, then, you may be able to pick up additional sales by emphasizing that time is money—or by making a few simple improvements to your site, such as improving product descriptions and eliminating mandatory site registration.

Among the 575 consumers surveyed by Questus, 77% of those who shop online said they did so to save time, while a full two-thirds said it was to be able to shop at any time of day. Only 49% said they shopped online to save money.

Other reasons for shopping online included the ability to avoid crowds (61%), being able to have the gifts shipped directly to the recipients (30%), and not having to carry and transport gifts (27%).

That said, when asked what would increase their likelihood to make an online purchase, the majority (65%) said better prices. Nearly half (48%) said better shipping options.

But the good news for online merchants is that many of the factors that respondents said would induce them to make an online purchase are well within their control. For instance, 38% of respondents said that better product descriptions would increase their likelihood to buy from a site, and 35% said better product photos. Thirty-five percent also said they’d be more likely to buy from a site that didn’t require them to register. Thirty-one percent cited easier navigation as an inducement to buy, the same percentage that cited an easier checkout process and better return policies. One out of four said that reviews and ratings of products from other consumers would make them more likely to buy from a site.