Understanding how consumer behaviors vary between offline and online shopping is useful for setting goals and deciding which marketing actions are best for the audience you want to reach.
In fact, people who choose to shop online from an e-commerce retail store do not follow the same customer journeyas those who go to the store. However, they have points in common. Today, even those who choose offline shopping are influenced in some way by digital technologies. At the same time, e-commerce shoppers are not immune to offline brand advertising.
The definition of consumer behavior
According to the paper "Comparison of Online and Offline Shopping on Consumer Behavior", consumer behavior refers to the actions of individuals who are directly involved in the business of obtaining and using economic goods and services, including decision making activities. It is influenced by internal and external factors. The former concern the consumers themselves, while the latter concern the context. As you can imagine, the variables are so many that it is impossible to predict them all.
In any case, among the factors that influence consumers' desires and habits are:
- Cultural factors: ranging from the traditional culture of the country of origin, to subcultures related to age, neighborhood, ethnicity, religion, and social class;
- Social factors concerning the belonging groups and their peculiarities: family, friends, but also social status;
- Personal Factors: age, job, income, lifestyle, personality and self-image;
- Psychological factors: motivation to satisfy desires and needs, perception of situations, beliefs and attitudes.
These factors mix and overlap, leading the individual consumer to be more or less inclined to offline or online shopping, interested in certain goods, influenced by advertising or other’s opinion.
Online shopping behavior
In light of all the factors above, it is impossible to define a precise pattern of online shopping behavior. However, statistics say that consumers are now spending more in online stores than physical stores. And according to Nasdaq consumers will make 95% of purchases online by 2040.
When deciding their strategies, companies should remember why consumers love online shopping:
- Comparisons: Online consumers can compare brands, products, prices and switch between items quickly;
- Plenty of choices: There are more items and more brands online than in a store or mall;
- Continuous shopping: e-commerce never close and consumers can shop even in the middle of the night or during Christmas lunch;
- Immediacy: there is no traffic, no bad weather, no queues outside the shops, no crowded shops or other obstacles that slow down or worsen the experience;
Reviews: 97% of consumers check online reviews before making a purchase. They also tend to spend 31% on particularly positive reviews. At the same time, 22% of consumers say they won't visit a business that has received a bad review. (Source: Medium)