9 Factors Influencing Online Buying Behavior
Have you ever paused to consider the factors that influence what you buy? How about those that influence your customers to purchase from you rather than your competitors?
Over 263 million Americans shop online, which accounts for 80% of the population. And 56.6% of U.S. consumers prefer online shopping.
That said, allow us to share what those factors are so that you can potentially grow your reach but also strengthen existing customer loyalty. Listed below are the different factors that influence online buying behavior.
The Target Demographic
The first factor that highly influences how your consumer behaves is the target demographic that they belong to.
What is their age? Where do they live? For instance, the factors that motivate students to purchase something are not the same principle that encourages their parents. Those who belong to an upper sector of society also have different priorities compared to those from a lower socio-economic level.
When it comes to online shopping, the largest consumer group consists of millennials between the age of 25 and 34. Therefore, researching your target market is critical to tailoring your marketing and advertising campaigns to fit your target demographic.
Aside from demographics, emerging technology and retail trends also influence shoppers’ online buying preferences. For instance, buy now, pay later (BNPL) financing options are changing the way consumers shop online – primarily due to convenience. 56% of people prefer BNPL over their credit cards, and the top reason was because it was easier to make payments. Eventually, 38% of buyers think BNPL will replace their credit cards altogether.
Retailers that incorporate a BNPL payment option can increase their competitive edge by attracting more customers and increasing revenue. In fact, 30% of BNPL users trusted it more than credit cards. Unsurprisingly, more shoppers preferred to use BNPL payment options to make large-sum purchases, with the average transaction amount being $689.
Accurate Product Information
Do not underestimate the power of a well-written product description in influencing online shopping behavior. At the very least, it should address all the possible questions that your target market might be curious about at a glance.
It should also create enough intrigue and motivation with a strong call to action to encourage purchases.
While it is best to outline the benefits of your product or service in the product description or marketing materials, it’s even better if your ads demonstrate how you fulfill your consumers’ wants and needs. For instance, how can users improve their quality of life with your product or service? How do your offerings address your consumers’ pain points?
Inaccurate details, missing information, and false promises can significantly impact your potential customer’s impression of your product or service and your brand in general.
This is especially critical when your offers are posted online, and your clients can easily research them with just a few clicks.
We can probably all agree that the total cost of getting a product or service plays a huge role in one’s purchase decision.
By total cost, we don’t just mean the price of your product but the potential discounts, shipping fees, and other financial factors that come into play.
For instance, you might be offering your products and services at a slightly higher price point, but a POS financing software can boost your customer’s current purchasing power. Installment plans can help your customers pay for large-sum purchases in smaller payments. In turn, consumers may be more inclined to pull the trigger on a big purchase because they have more financial flexibility.
Similarly, new customer discounts or loyalty programs can also encourage new and returning shoppers to purchase from your brand. One of the top preferences of online consumers is free shipping offers. 83% of customers stated that free shipping influenced their online buying behavior – particularly their preference to purchase from stores that offered this option.
Speaking of offers, monetary offers are the top factors that influence how consumers shop. For instance, if you’re dealing with B2B sales, is there a chance for you to offer your products at a lower price point if they’re going to place a higher order? However, money-off discounts aren’t the only offers you can provide.
Another option aside from monetary perks is the possibility of exchanging products. For example, many consumers are impulse shoppers who may choose to return items later on. Or, in the case of online clothing purchases, the items may not be flattering on them. In fact, you can even combine monetary and non-monetary offers. For instance, you can allow your customers to return unwanted items at no additional shipping cost to them. As such, returns and exchanges can be valuable factors influencing consumers’ online shopping behavior.
Sometimes your customers aren’t motivated by the cost or the perks of your goods or services. Instead, what converts them from browsers to paying customers is your website’s useability.
This includes having reviews, photos, a convenient product search, and intuitive site navigation features. Customer service is indeed the backbone of providing a stellar customer experience, but we highly recommend improving your checkout process.
Don’t allow your checkout process to be too cumbersome. This is one of the main culprits of cart abandonment. Plus, additional points if you can offer various payment methods as well.
Moreover, visual aspects greatly impact the likelihood that individuals will make a purchase. For instance, featuring positive customer reviews and appealing photos go a long way in boosting conversion. In fact, 60% of millennial shoppers left an online store without making a purchase because the website didn’t have reviews or photos.
Finally, only collect the information you need to get the product delivered to your customer, and don’t forget to remind them why you’re collecting these details. Due to the rising number of cybersecurity threats, your customers will certainly find that extra step reassuring.
Photo by Lovefreund
72% of shoppers state that they are more inclined to purchase from a brand that offers them personalized experiences. This includes sending them relevant emails (and calling them by their first name), giving them exclusive deals, and refining your product recommendations.
Also, periodically check your company’s Facebook page and Google reviews for customer feedback. Implementing changes based on your customers’ suggestions can improve client relations as consumers feel their input matters. Updates made from customer input can also help your product team personalize goods and services that better meet your consumers’ needs, wants, and expectations.
Have you ever heard about social proof? It is a psychological phenomenon where individuals are more likely to try something if others have already done the same. This theory applies to online shopping as evidenced by the power of customer reviews.
For example, new customers are more likely to give your brand a try if they see existing positive reviews on your website and other online consumer review sites. Plus, you can see additional benefits if you create user-generated content to display on your company’s social media accounts.
Also, keep in mind that there’s no harm in having a couple of lackluster reviews. This only makes your other testimonials more believable.
Finally, bring your brand closer to your potential customers by increasing accessibility. There are different ways to do so. We recommend you start by increasing your website’s search engine optimization (or SEO).
Your site should be the first one potential consumers see after searching for what they need. Making your products and services accessible through mobile (by applying mobile optimization or creating your own app) also helps significantly. One last tip is to make your eCommerce store accessible for people with disabilities. For instance, implementing alternative text for product images can offer more convenience.
Alternatively, you can make all of your product or testimonial videos accessible by transcribing the audio to text.
Making multi-media information available for all people, especially those who are deaf or hard of hearing, is known as audio accessibility. Audio transcription is a key component of accessibility.
The Bottom Line
Don’t get us wrong. Lead generation and conversion are complex processes that go beyond the factors we have listed above. However, keeping the points we shared with you in mind will give you a much-needed advantage in the online retail space.