TECHNOLOGY

Survey: Online shoppers are still shoppers

BY Dan Berthiaume

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Consumer habits may not change as much online as retailers think.

According to a new survey of more than 1,000 consumers from payment provider Klarna, price plays a major role in online purchase decisions.

Men are particularly frugal online spenders, with 60% saying they are most likely to buy new clothes when an old item wears out – compared to 52% of women. U.S. shoppers also buy new clothes online when there are seasonal sales (44%) and big events like a wedding (30%).

Only 2% of all consumers say they’ll buy clothes online because a celeb/influencer has worn it. However, 25% of Gen Z respondents say they are most influenced to buy when they see an item trending which is likely to sell out and 26% when they’ve seen something on social media.

More than two in 10 (22%) shoppers say they struggle to afford the latest trends and would like an option to pay in installments or pay later – increasing to 37% for Gen Z and 30% for Millennials. One-third said having the option to pay for their online purchases in four equal payments would help them better manage their finances and one-quarter (24%) said it would mean they could buy more high-end products they couldn’t usually afford. One-fifth (21%) said it would allow them to ultimately spend more.

In addition to low price and purchase plans, the survey also shows customers want a simplified and smooth online experience. The top reasons for U.S. shoppers abandoning a purchase online are that the retailer does not have a decent returns policy (36%) and the checkout process took too long (31%). Two-thirds (66%) say a free and easy returns policy is one of the top two aspects that would improve the experience, and 53% said a slow and expensive returns process would stop them from shopping with a retailer again. A flawed website functionality would also prohibit 61% of shoppers from repeat visit/purchase.

Almost half (46%) of U.S. shoppers say they like to touch and try items before they buy them, so they will tend to buy more expensive items in store. Three in 10 (29%) shoppers prefer to browse for a new purchase online and then actually buy it in store.

Three-quarters (73%) of consumers think that shopping in-store offers a human experience that can’t be replicated online. However, over half miss the personalized offers and discount codes they receive online and 55% think that shopping online is more convenient. Thirty-four percent want online chats so they can speak directly with a representative about an item before buying.

Half (49%) of shoppers want technology that takes their measurements so they can be sure something will fit before buying. Nearly one-quarter (24%) want augmented or virtual reality components – the ability to see items without trying them on (this rises to 40% for Gen Z). One-quarter (26%) of shoppers want smart mirrors that make recommendations on what to buy based on what you try on. Twenty-one percent of U.S. consumers want tracking tech so they can see where their item came from and if it is ethically produced.

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