Shoppers Seek Web 2.0 E-Commerce

E-Commerce sites lose as many as 67 percent of consumers; many abandon their shopping carts due to a lack of product information. The “Online Merchandising Survey” research brief released by Allurent details consumer perception on online shopping.

Increased interactive elements and innovative ways to display and purchase products would drive online sales for 83 percent of survey respondents. Enhanced features include mix and match outfits where shoppers can put together an entire outfit on screen (44 percent); 360-degree product views (78 percent); side-by-side comparisons (63 percent) and personalization or customizable products (53 percent).

While online shopping revenues continue to climb, 64 percent of consumers say they prefer bricks-and-mortar stores. Growing online sales creates an opportunity for stores to create an online presence through multi-channel integrations.

“As shoppers become OK with shopping online, the brands that are leading the list are the physical store brands, the big box and mall brands,” said Allurent CEO Joe Chung. “If you’re a big mall chain store, whatever rank you have in the ordinary retail world is probably the rank you have online.”

Consumers prefer physical stores for better understanding of products (71 percent); more fun to browse (55 percent); easier research and comparison (30 percent); and it’s easier to buy a specific product (23 percent).

Online resellers can stand out by with better branding and creating a more fitting brand experience. “Online, you shop for lingerie the same way you show for lawnmowers,” said Chung. “If you took pictures out of e-commerce sites and replaced them with gray X’s, you can’t tell what you’re shopping for, it’s the exact same user experience. One of the things we’re seeing is that as technology is getting more expressive, retailers are making their online experiences match the consumer experiences in the store.”

Retailers already employ Web 2.0 features online, even if it’s just to test the market. “There’s almost nobody we’re talking to that isn’t at least experimenting,” said Chung. “Some companies are going whole hog.” He said the Gap’s site has extremely innovative features; Nike just built a Macromedia Flash store; and Allurent is working with Urban Outfitters on its site.

“We think the Web in five years won’t look anything like it does today, but today looks a lot like it did five years ago,” said Chung.

Consumers often browse online stores, even if they don’t intend to buy. Sixty-eight percent say they brows online more than in the past, compared to 23 percent who say they browse about the same.

The data are derived from a survey of 803 U.S. adult residents. The survey was conducted across four age groups: 18 to 24; 25 to 34; 35 to 49 and over 50. Across all groups the distribution was 59 percent male and 41 percent female.

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