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Why Shoppers Love Online Most of the Time



Nielsen published a simple chart today that defines how consumers feel about in-store, online, and mobile shopping.

What’s exciting to see, is that online shopping came out on top, beating the other two in three out of five categories.

Take a look at the chart and then we’ll talk.

Let’s work backwards starting with Safest. No surprise that mobile barely registers on the safe scale, but I’m surprised by how low online is as compared to in-store. It appears that people still worry about sending their credit card information into the great beyond, but they’re not afraid to hand their card over to a store. I’ve had my credit card information stolen only once and it happened when thieves siphoned off the data from my local grocery store.

Because people are so worried about safety, I believe that most internet sellers go above and beyond to protect data but do you really know what happens to your credit card when you hand it to a waitress and she walks off with it?

Most Convenient and Easiest go hand in hand. Mobile gets its highest marks in these areas, as does online, but the gap is still huge. I can see where shopping on a full size PC monitor is easier than doing it on a smartphone, but I’m intrigued that the PC is much more convenient than a mobile device.

Skipping over to Most Reliable, we get another wide spread. Again, I understand the issues with mobile. Connections can be a problem, size of the screen, lack of shopping apps designed for mobile. . . it adds up. But look at that gap between online and in-store! Then look at Overall Favorite. How does that make sense. Online isn’t very reliable but it’s still the best option?

I’d like to know what concepts people put in the Most Reliable category? Customer service. Returns. Quality of the product, maybe. I guess if you look at all the internet stores as whole, stacked up against all the brick and mortar retailers as a whole, there is a huge trust difference. Go into Best Buy or Barnes & Nobel and you know what you’re getting. The experience from store to store is the same, its familiar. Shop at Barney’s Better Buys online and it’s an unknown. Could be a great experience or it could be a nightmare.

Looking at it from the perspective, it’s a wonder that online ended up as the overall favorite. In spite of the extra effort, there’s something safe and comforting about walking into a physical store, touching a physical product and talking to real people. Even if it’s a one-off, you have that sense that they’ll still be there tomorrow if you have a problem or need to buy another item. One-off stores online are often extremely anonymous. No physical address, no contact numbers, no way to tell if the store is even still in business.

What I get from all of this is that we need to do two things. First, online businesses need to do more to assure their customers that they are safe and reliable. Second, retailers need to ramp up their mobile assets with websites that convert for iPad use, smartphone apps and check-out that doesn’t require 25 steps to complete.

Then, all things really will be equal.