If retailers were certain about anything for Christmas 2013, it had to be that online shoppers were going to pull in more revenue than ever. Online retail sales were predicted to grow from $225.5 billion in 2012 to $434.2 billion in 2017 according to data from eMarketer. It's not only that people are spending more time shopping online for gifts or that specially priced bike helmet on Amazon. People are buying groceries, toiletries, movie tickets, video games, electronics and hotel rooms. Today's consumers have the advantage of not only shopping at home but also on the go with their smartphones and tablets. As more people turn to the Internet to purchase their everyday and specialty products, it's also become much easier for retailers to focus on impulse buyers and deal shoppers with email promotions and skillfully placed online advertisements. While it's clear that online shopping will continue to grow, it's unclear what trends will have a great impact for shoppers and if rumors of WiFi LED refrigerator screens can actually become popular. These are some different ways that online shopping changed consumers in 2013.
Faster, One-Click Checkouts
Online retailers have really perfected the art of impulse buying for consumers. They advertise a product, offer a promotion and make it irresistible with one-click shopping. Shoppers can store their payment information, or if they are shopping on a mobile phone, they can even charge it to their cell phone provider account. With faster, secure checkouts, consumers can make their purchases quickly, which is important to the on-the-go online consumer who is browsing with a tablet or mobile phone.
All Payment Methods Accepted
While it used to be that credit cards were the typical payment method allowed, major companies began adding other online payment capabilities. While credit card still remains king, many retailers allowed for consumers to use online payments from PayPal or even choose their mobile phone provider. This made it even more convenient for consumers who didn't want to enter their credit or debit card information online.
A Holiday Worth Researching For
Accenture reported that 65 percent of online shoppers planned to "webroom" over the Christmas holiday shopping season in 2013. this means that shoppers browsed online and conducted research before going to the store to make their purchases. Many shoppers wanted to avoid waiting for shipping and shipping costs around the holidays, but they also wanted to touch and feel the product before committing to a purchase. In addition, 36 percent of shoppers plan to purchase items online but pick them in store. Many retailers offer free ship-to-store or same-day pickup, which makes it incredibly easy for the savvy online shopper.
The Perfect Retail Experience
More than ever, major retailers are investing tons of money into their online sales divisions. They are learning how to drive consumers with social media and paid advertising to increase sales, but they are also providing that perfect online shopping experience for customers. Consumers don't have to look for anything anymore. The latest deals are right there on the front with easy-to-use navigation and even wishlist or "save for later" functions that make it easy to come back for something later. They are also offering more shipping methods. With in-store pickup and free shipping, many retailers are able to see exactly what their shoppers want to from their online shopping experience. They want a good deal for a high quality product with a quick turnaround.
Mobile shopping contributed a large part of the increase in sales for 2013. As search engines and retailers grow savvier towards online consumers, it should become even easier to find the latest deals and make comparisons for whatever you're looking to buy with just a click of the mouse or tap of the finger.