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Chapter 4. Chapter Understanding the Onl... > In the End, Information Is Key

In the End, Information Is Key

Researchers boil the psychology of online shopping down to the supply of information. Once consumers have created a final set of selections after studying the available universe of choices, the thing they crave is extensive information in making the final choice. In addition, the abundance of information can help eliminate the need for experiential evaluation of the merchandise. For example, Web stores such as Amazon.com that offer customer reviews provide information that can actually surpass the experience of flipping through the book.

Consumers are turning to Internet shopping because they can more rapidly assemble the best information needed to make a purchasing decision. That stems directly from one of the Web's best attributes, delivery of information, and one of the best aspects of computers, rapid processing of comparative features. This combination helps make online shopping a compelling, if not superior, choice alternative to traditional shopping.

Relating the Consumer Psychological Profile to Available Statistics

Do statistics back up consumer psychology studies? Apparently so. In an earlier GVU study, three of the top four reasons people cited for personal Web shopping were directly related to the consumer psychological profile. The reasons the GVU respondents cited for shopping online were convenience (65 percent), availability of vendor information (60 percent), the lack of pressure from salespeople (55 percent), and saving time (53 percent). An Ernst & Young survey in 1999 found that convenience and choices/variety were also quite high.

As a side note, that GVU survey also stated that personalized services are for most people not a primary reason to shop online. Researchers wrote that this "could be a result of unfamiliarity with personalized shopping services."


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