Situational Influences and Online Shopping
a. Why consumers shop online
i. Convenience: What could be easier than shopping from your own home (or on the go with a smartphone) anytime you want?
ii. Communication: Instantly correspond with other consumers, sellers and company representatives to easily gather information about a purchase.
iii. Choice: Consumers can rapidly search through multiple stores from all over the globe instantly. Consumers can also easily research a company/product capabilities and popularity.
iv. Cost: Consumers feel empowered when they can shop around at such a fast speed, they can make more informed purchasing decisions especially when it comes to prices. Companies need to make sure they are offering prices comparable to their competitors, because customers will figure it out and not purchase from them!
v. Customization: Another positive aspect of the Internet is the ability for the customer to purchase a product exactly how they want it; and the company avoids paying inventory storage costs and overhead for a retail location since the products are made and then shipped directly to the customer. Dell Computers turned their small operation into a multi-million dollar company on this marketing idea.
vi. Control: Customers seem to have more control over quantity, size, style, color, price and the type of vendor that they purchase from when using the Internet. Purchases for second-hand products can be made on e-bay, creating a whole new genre of stores.
b. The 7 C’s of Driving Website Commerce
i. Context: A website’s layout, visual design and use of colors, white space, graphics and information have to all create a theme that makes sense for the company and products.
ii. Commerce: A website’s ability to allow customers to make purchases safely, and also to make returns.
iii. Connection: Links to other websites. The amount of links depends on the company and the products.
iv. Communication: A website can allow communication between the company and the consumer, some sites use live chat capabilities, others use a message board or email.
v. Context: A websites use of text, fonts, sounds, music, video demonstrations to convey a theme or help convince customers to purchase.
vi. Community: Some websites will allow customers to talk to each other via message boards or leave comments about products.
vii. Customization: A website can be customizable by the customer and tailor itself to different users. Amazon.com makes personal recommendations based on past purchases. Some gaming websites will allow the user to choose to see information on only the games they own.
c. Online Consumer Lifestyle Segmentation
i. Click and Mortar— Only shop online for research, then go to the physical store to make purchases.
ii. Hunter Gatherers— Enjoy going online for the thrill of auctions and bargain hunting
iii. Brand Loyalists– Enjoy going online, but only to look at websites and products they are comfortable with.
iv. Time Sensitive Materialists– Only go online for news update, stock updates.
v. Hooked, online and Single— Young, (tweens, teens, college students) who are extremely tech proficient and use the Internet for news, networking and shopping.
vi. Ambivalent Newbies— Not technologically proficient, may only go online occasionally or to check e-mail.