In the midst of dying dot-coms and a bearish stock market, consumers continue to shop online, largely unfettered by the market woes that face many online retailers. According to a new Technographics® Report from Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR), shoppers won’t abandon online retail because eCommerce gives consumers power — the ability to perform or act effectively. The power offered by the Web includes three main elements: convenience, confidence, and control.
“Rumors surrounding the demise of eCommerce have been greatly exaggerated — in fact, they are dead wrong,” according to Christopher M. Kelley, analyst at Forrester Research. “While the number of tech-related pink slips increases, consumers continue to flock to the Net without regard for the pain faced by online retailers. Ninety-eight percent of Web buyers say they will continue to shop online and 65% won’t alter their spending at all.”
Shoppers’ attitudes about eCommerce and their online buying behaviors underscore how fundamental convenience is to the ongoing success of the channel. Time-deprived consumers don’t have enough free time to fight for a parking space or wait in line to make a purchase. Rather than searching the aisles for a lawn mower at the neighborhood Sears, it takes seconds to type “lawn mower” in the search box at sears.com. This convenience led 52% of Web buyers to use the search function on a retailer’s site.
However, convenience alone is not enough to sustain eCommerce. Online retail will remain popular because the Web has given consumers confidence, increasing the power that consumers have at their disposal. Forrester found that 65% of Web buyers who spent more than $100 on their most recent purchase comparison-shopped before they bought. The Web aids this process — price comparison and retailer-rating tools are a click away for every consumer.
Emboldened by the convenience and confidence consumers have when shopping online, Web buyers have taken their power to another level — they exert control over their online shopping. The control consumers wield takes various forms.
Consumers use functions like a site’s customer support and tracking to maintain control of their entire purchase process — 14% of Web buyers did so during their most recent online purchase. Consumers also expect companies to give them control of their personal information — 60% of Web buyers want the government to ensure that consumers can determine how the collected information is used.
For the Report “Why eCommerce Won’t Die,” Forrester conducted a mail survey of 10,536 American and Canadian online households that are members of NPD’s mail panel. We also drew from Forrester’s Consumer Technographics 2000 North America Benchmark Study of 80,887 American and Canadian households.