Online shopping can be very convenient to hunt for bargains, browse products or scout for the latest trends, but according to the results of a recent survey, the amount of people who buy items online that they want, outstrip those who buy items that they actually need.
“People believe that they purchase online to save time and money, but with purchases being skewed towards non-essential items, the report indicates that ‘saving’ isn’t necessarily the main driver,” said Henk Pretorius, Columinate CEO – who did the survey.
The data pointed towards 64% of online purchases were made within the ‘wants’ category, while almost half of that (36%) where made for items that they actually needed. Items that fall into the ‘wants’ category are things like travel, music, books, games, DVDs or event tickets. Essential goods are things like goods such as groceries, clothes and health supplies.
“This creates an opportunity for online retailers to increase sales in the ‘needs segment’. Online retailers should focus on promoting the time and money that consumers can truly save by purchasing essential items online. For example, buying a DVD online may save a few minutes in a mall, but buying the week’s groceries online could save one an hour or more.”
The reasons for purchasing online is also a bit different for people who like to physically go into a store. Pretorius explained that people who buy their goods online are under the impression that they will be saving time and money, but the report indicated that savings isn’t always the main driver.
Another major finding was that offline stores with an online presence have huge initial levels of trust compared to online-only retailers… but that trust tends to be on par after purchases. “This could be due to issues with post-purchase experience factors such as delivery,” comments Pretorius.
Ever browsed through an online store, packed your basket or cart full of items, and just abandoned it right before checking out? Well, you are not alone, as 77% of the 2017 respondents said that they have done exactly that.
According to the research, 21% found a better deal somewhere else, 17% said that they changed their mind because they couldn’t afford it, while 14% said that they actually didn’t need the items.
And people like to shop around – the data showed that 24% of online shoppers shop at one “everything” store, while 60% shop at between two to five stores, which includes “everything” and “discount” websites. The power shoppers make up about 15% of the online buying population, and buy items from more than six stores.
What is also astonishing, is that the majority of people think that buying from an online-first store hampers the quality of products, compared to physical brick-and-mortar stores who have an online presence.
“In general, these findings show the importance for digital players to facilitate initial purchases, as this elevates trust and value perceptions and confirms the reliability of the stores to a potentially sceptical consumer. Initial perception is an area where offline brands have an advantage as they transfer offline brand trust over into the online space. People simply trust brands they have shopped at before,” indicated Pretorius.
Even though the sentiments of online shoppers are echoed through their behaviour, making purchases online is gaining a steady following, and Pretorius warned that thinking of online shopping as optional would be foolish.
“All indicators point to an increase in the size of the online retail market in South Africa and recent investments from both local and global players have confirmed the intention for growth in the industry.”
According to Pretorius, it is clear that online retail is clearly growing in South Africa, new online player are emerging regularly, and the existing traditional retail stores are taking their online presence more seriously than ever before.
Columinate also performed a SITEisfaction survey as part of the research, and found that online retailer Kalahari.com had the best overall customer satisfaction levels with a score of 76.
“The SITEisfaction score is determined by calculating the number of highly satisfied users versus the percentage of highly dissatisfied users. We measured each site on a number of key drivers including ease of use, information, trust security, value for money, range of products, and delivery performance,” Pretorius explains.
Stores that sell electronics generally do rather poorly, with Dion Wired scoring the most with a score of 17. The overall satisfaction for online stores that sells electronics are 15.