Why do people buy online? A fair enough question, and one that brand marketers should ask – and hopefully answer with a high degree of accuracy. But taking a reverse route can prove equally beneficial. Rather than limit oneself to the obvious foregoing question, marketers could ask its inverse: Why don’t people buy online? It’s an inquiry that produces some very intriguing answers.
One of the answers relates to something on everyone’s mind, particularly during the holidays. This is the issue of time. Nobody wants to squander those precious minutes, especially when spreading themselves thin during this festive time of year. Understandably, the nonstop hustle and bustle often drives consumers to the calmer shores of online shopping. Here, it is hoped, speed and efficiency will prevail. And shoppers will be ‘out the door’ in record time.
Incredibly, however, time-savings often proves illusory. Instead of expected efficiency, online shoppers get frustrating delays. One of the most salient examples of online stalling is unnecessary repetition. Every online shopper at one point, and probably more than one point, has been asked to enter information multiple times on a retail site. With a few short mouse clicks or screen taps, the retailer has undermined the entire digital shopping experience. Instead of zooming through the checkout process, these put-upon consumers slog through it at a snail’s pace. Word to the wise: eliminate multiple info-entries and make the process as smooth and user-friendly as possible. Remember, a few minutes in online time is like a few hours in the brick and mortar world.
More is not always better.
Another buyer-deterrent and infamous time waster is over-selection. Yes, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Retailers often crow about their amazingly extensive selection – dozens maybe hundreds of colors, shapes, styles, price-ranges, delivery choices, etc. This bonanza of options, however, can and often does prove overwhelming to the average consumer. Ample research suggests that the advantages of abundant choice often are negated by the disadvantages of too much choice. More often than not, the barrage of possibilities confuses consumers to the point of utter frustration.
Given the potential for confusion, advance filtering is a necessary first step. Retailers often can benefit when they narrow down the selection to choices reflective of customer tastes and preferences. In so doing, sellers eliminate the risk of confusion while providing an empowering freedom of choice.
If you have any questions or comments about marketing your brand to online shoppers, or about any other brand-related topic, feel free to send them our way.