Customer shopping habits have been mercurial over the past decade. A few years back, brick and mortar stores were the only available option to shop.
But with the rise of online shopping, more people are aligning towards buying products online. The rise of online shopping statistics suggested that an estimated 1.8 billion people shopped online, with online sales amounting to $2.8 trillion in the year 2018.
The growth of e-commerce and online shopping has significantly impacted customer behavior. Now, shoppers prefer making purchases at the comfort of their homes, and they expect the experience to be fast and seamless.
Let’s delve into how the rise of online shopping has changed buyer habits.
Increased Mobility: Shop from Anywhere, Anytime
Ask this to yourself. How did you plan for shopping before online shopping became a new normal? Most likely, you had a family discussion where you made a list of items you needed to purchase, along with the date you’ll go out shopping, and the stores you’ll visit.
Shopping, back in the day, was a task that had to be planned and executed. A successful shopping day, where you got everything you wanted and still managed to stay under budget, was no less than an achievement.
Now, with the rise of mobile shopping, you don’t have to plan or wait until the store opens to make a purchase. The internet and e-commerce allow you to search for products and buy them online without even moving an inch from your place.
Shopping has now become a hobby, which most people enjoy when they’re idle. How many times have you scrolled Amazon because you had nothing to do?
The Speed of Shopping
Time savings and efficiency are the primary reasons for the rise of online shopping. People don’t want to drive for an hour and dodge the traffic to go to a store. E-commerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, and Desertcart allow you to scan through hundreds of thousands of products from the top brands across the globe, without stepping out of your house.
Now, in addition to stay-at-home comfort, shoppers are also demanding speed. This has given rise to express delivery services like Amazon Prime. An order that took 5-8 days to deliver now takes 2-3 days, and in some cases, it takes even less.
Forget about apparel; several families have also adopted the rise of online grocery shopping. This trend has further encouraged e-commerce providers to provide quick, same-day delivery to shoppers.
More Personalized Experiences
The modern customer expects a seamless and personalized shopping experience. In days of online shopping, the stores had the edge. They sold the products they had to and at a price as per their choice. The experience was more seller-centric, and the customers had to make adjustments.
Now, the tables have turned upside down. Customers want a superior experience that’s consistent no matter the device they’re using or the stage of the buying process they’re in.
Let’s understand the concept of personalization in more detail. In the case of offline shopping, you had no choice but to see what the retailer showed you. It was a one-size-fits-all approach.
With the rise of online shopping, customers can tailor their own experiences. You can add items to your wishlist and check them out later. Besides, most stores analyze your buying and browsing behavior to recommend products that you’re likely to be interested in.
In all, customers nowadays expect more, and retailers need to mold themselves accordingly. The retail market is no longer seller-centric; it’s customer-driven.
Shopping as a Social Activity
Shopping has become highly social, as people want to share their shopping experiences with others. With the rise of online shopping, people can give their reviews in public, which helps others make better shopping decisions.
In fact, the rise of online shopping statistics indicates that more than 90% of customers are likely to check online reviews before buying a product online. This includes checking reviews on Google, Yelp, and social media platforms.
Moreover, it doesn’t matter if the reviews are coming from complete strangers. Back in the day, shoppers had to rely on critics and reviewers to get an insight into a product. Not only did this limit the point of view, but some companies also paid critics to say positive things about their product.
With the rise of online shopping, every shopper is a critic. You can buy a product, use it, and provide your honest, unbiased feedback for the public to see. And when a product has thousands of reviews, it becomes easier for prospective buyers to make a decision.
As shopping becomes more social, retailers have an obligation to offer high-quality products and services. Customers are highly informed, and companies need to create new, memorable experiences to meet customer expectations.
Shoppers are their own Salespeople
How often do you get sales calls nowadays? Maybe you get a few, but the number would certainly be lower than what it was a decade ago. The reason for this shift is apparent. People are now becoming their own salespeople.
Back in the day, when access to the internet was obsolete, and brands didn’t focus much on online presence, shoppers didn’t have enough access to company and product information. They had to buy whatever salespeople sold to them.
But with the rise of online shopping, people have embraced this responsibility. With widespread internet access and the digital presence of companies, shoppers can search for any product or service online. They can get detailed company and product information, which they can read, analyze, and verify before making a purchase.
As customers are relying on their tech-assisted resourcefulness, the role of salespeople in companies is also changing. Instead of going ‘gung-ho’ with hard-selling, salespeople are now focusing on creating new customer experiences.
The rise of online shopping can be attributed to a simple fact: people want to buy the products they want when they want them. They expect personalized experiences where they can shop for their favorite products at the comfort of their home and receive them at their doorstep almost instantly.