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Survey Shows Rapid Growth in Online Shopping

Surveyed shoppers made 51% of their purchases on the web

For the first time, consumers say they bought more of their purchases on the web than in stores, according to an annual survey of more than 5,000 online shoppers by United Parcel Service Inc.

The shoppers now made 51% of their purchases on the web compared with 48% in 2015 and 47% in 2014, according to the survey by UPS and analytics firm comScore Inc. The survey polled shoppers who make at least two online purchases in a three-month period, excluding groceries.

The latest results of the survey—now in its fifth year—illustrate the degree to which the adoption of online shopping is accelerating. This year, 44% of smartphone users said they made a purchase from their device, up from 41% a year ago. It also helps explain why retailers are having so much trouble adjusting to the new cyber shopping era.

The shoppers reported that only 20% of their purchases were made in a store the conventional way—going to a store, browsing there and buying—down from 22% a year ago. Forty-two percent chose to search and buy entirely online, while the rest said their purchases were made by combining online and in-store shopping and browsing.

“There’s been a dramatic shift,” says Steve Osburn, who advises retailers on supply-chain issues for Kurt Salmon. “Over time, people are getting more and more comfortable” shopping online, he says. That has hit retailers hard.

While total online spending comprised 7.8% of all retail purchases in the first quarter, according to the Commerce Department, more than half the population, or about 190 million U.S. consumers, will shop online this year, according to Forrester.

That is enough to inflict plenty of pain. Department-store chains have been particularly hard hit as Amazon.com Inc. increasingly sets its sights on apparel and fashion. Macy’sInc. recently reported its worst quarterly sales since the recession, while Nordstrom Inc.,J.C. Penney Co. and Kohl’s Corp. all reported sales slumps. Big-box stores such as Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. eked out meager sales gains in their latest quarters.

“There’s going to be severe continued pressure on department stores because traffic is going to peel away from that channel towards Amazon,” said Randal Konik, retail analyst at the investment bank Jefferies & Co.

To show how quickly things are changing: Those surveyed said they now select two-day shipping 20% of the time, compared with 16% last year and 10% in 2014. “Amazon Prime is likely driving this increase as members select two-day shipping 31% of the time, compared to an average of only 8% for nonmembers,” according to the survey.

 

“They’re changing customers’ expectations because they’re giving them the low-cost shipping along with the speed. And then you change the mentality of the consumer…Now it’s the expectation.”

Though millennials make 54% of their purchases online, the rate of adoption by older people is growing at a faster rate. Non-millennials made 49% of their purchases online, according to the survey, compared with 44% in 2014.

And as for shopping by smartphone users: the survey found that 63% of millennials use their phones to shop, while 19% of baby boomers and 8% of seniors use their phones to make purchases.

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Ecommerce Is Growing, But Customers Still Prefer Shopping in Stores

Even with the rise of ecommerce, nothing beats an in-store shopping experience. Aside from books, electronics and office supplies, a majority of people still prefer to shop in a physical store, according to the Walker Sands Future of Retail 2016 report.

The report, which surveyed more than 1,400 U.S. consumers, revealed surprising predictions about the growing importance of supply chains and future of retail.

Related: Is the Death of Brick-and-Mortar Retail a Myth?

Although people might prefer to shop in stores, there’s been a year-over-year increase in the frequency of online purchases since 2014. Today, nearly a third of consumers say they shop online at least once a week — a 41 percent increase from two years ago.

Improvements in the supply chain are helping fuel this growth, as consumers demand fast and reliable ways to purchase and receive items. With Amazon and third-party logistics providers improving inventory management practices and fulfillment and delivery procedures, frequent online shoppers expect a variety of shipping options such as same-day and overnight delivery.

The main incentives to shop online today are free shipping, one-day shipping and free returns. Nine in 10 consumers admit that free shipping make them more likely to shop online.

Related: 12 Ways to Increase Online Sales

This holiday season, most shoppers (76 percent) plan to do their shipping through their smartphones or tablets because of convenience. Websites such as Amazon and eBay will be the most popular sites, according to a report by AMEX. On average, shoppers — online and in stores — are predicted to spend $908 on gifts alone this year, a $69 increase from last year.

As amazing and fast ecommerce and the supply chain have become, more consumers purchase items in-store rather than online. Ninety-two percent of groceries are purchased in stores, followed by 77 percent of consumer packaged goods and 76 percent of clothing and apparel. That doesn’t mean people won’t purchase these items online, however. More than half of polled consumers say they would be willing to do their grocery shopping online. More than a quarter of respondents say they would buy online all other categories, from books to clothing to electronics.

Related: Why the Future of Retail Will Blow Your Mind

Walker Sands predicts that the physical and online shopping worlds will eventually collide. Brick-and-mortar stores are beginning to incorporate mobile technology to improve in-store experiences by offering discounts, coupons and loyalty rewards programs. The agency also predicts virtual reality technology will provide “in-store” ecommerce experiences.

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Online shopping: Spend a day, not month in searching

London: Before buying a product, consumers are often likely to search and review online hundreds of available items in any category for up to a month.

However, what they purchase tends to be remarkably close to the items they searched and found in their very first search, says a study.

“Consumers don’t explore anywhere close to full range of products and attributes in the category. The final product they purchase is very close in terms of the attributes to the products they discovered on the first day,” said Bart Bronnenberg of Tilburg University in the Netherlands.

The study finds that about 25 per cent of consumers search and purchase in just one online session.

The average purchase takes much longer — around 15 days and over six sessions. The vast majority of purchases happen in under a month.

Further, about 40 per cent of consumers search only one brand and 20 per cent only one model, while the average consumer will search about three brands and six models.

“People differ in their search behaviour a lot. Some make up their mind right away but others search for long periods – often up to a month and review many products,” added Carl Mela of Duke University in North Carolina, US.

This suggests that consumers have a rough idea of the quality and type of features they want as they begin search.

The search helps them merely to refine the right combination of features within the narrow range of features of the products they found on the first day.

For marketers, a long period of search can be a great opportunity to influence the exploration and discovery of new products during search and purchase.

“The fact that what people buy is close to what they initially found means that the advertising targeting and product recommendations can use this information effectively and recommend close variants of what the consumer initially searched and found,” explained Jun Kim of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

The study focussed on online search and purchase behaviour of consumers in the digital camera category.

The team combined detailed consumer online browsing and purchase data for digital cameras from the online measurement firm comScore, with scraped camera product pages from the three largest online retailers – Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart – to uncover a variety of insights about online consumer search behaviour.

They used a sample of more than 1,000 digital camera purchases with full browsing histories over a three-month period.

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Good news! Soon, you can shop online and pay through Bitcoins

In a good news for online shopping enthusiasts, soon they can use Bitcoins –digital  money, for as their mode of transaction.

You can now pay your mobile or DTH bill through the digital currency, Bitcoin. Online shopping and utility bill payments via the virtual currency should be available soon, news agency IANS has said.

Bitcoins are digital money and their value is determined o the basis of their demand and supply. The digtal money is limited in numbers.

Only 21 million Bitcoins can be generated globally and they can be traded even in fractions, up to eight decimals. Last bitcoin will be generated in 2140 but 99 percent would be already there by 2040.

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Use coupons while shopping online

A newly conducted survey has indicated that four out of every five online shoppers make use of the coupons while shopping.

An online shopper who shops regularly using online portals plans well ahead and seeks out coupons before clicking on the pay option.

The study conducted by online coupon site Shop Pirate Coupons reveals that coupons are the biggest draw among online shoppers, read a statement.

This study has also thrown light on the fact in the age group of 25-34 are the biggest users of coupons.

The reason being that they are the most tech-savvy and have higher disposable income. At the same time, they look to save even on extravagant spending.

The number one destination for coupon hunting is mobile apps

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Retailers earning more from online sales than offline: Study

Sydney: Retailers offering customers an option to buy online are earning more revenue than those who sell their products only through offline channels, new research has found.

In the study, the team investigated how a larger selection of products available online affects consumer spending.

Junzhao Ma, lecturer at Australia`s Monash University, used the data from a large US retailer that specialises in apparel and offers both printed catalogue and internet shopping.

Ma took note of the retailer`s in-demand main products which are offered in the catalogues and the less-popular items that were available on the retailer`s website and found no or less space in its catalogues.

He found that online shoppers spent more time than catalogue shoppers on both popular and low-demand products — almost 11 per cent more per customer per year on the main offerings and 250 per cent more on the hard-to-find niche items.

Catalogue shoppers spent only 2.5 per cent of their total on niche items, yet the category accounted for 8.4 per cent of the total spending of online shoppers.

“Low-selling products are regularly pruned from the product line to reduce operational complexity and corresponding cost…but as shoppers grow more accustomed to the idea of searching for niche items online, carrying these niche products can not only yield additional revenue but also help retailers recruit and retain customers,” Ma said.

Overall, customers spend more online because it is easier to locate items through the search function, the author suggests, especially the less mainstream items.

The study is forthcoming in the Journal of Retailing at New York University.

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Ecommerce Is Growing, But Customers Still Prefer Shopping in Stores

Even with increases in delivery time and improved online experiences, people still like to physically buy many types of goods, a new study says.

Even with the rise of ecommerce, nothing beats an in-store shopping experience. Aside from books, electronics and office supplies, a majority of people still prefer to shop in a physical store, according to the Walker Sands Future of Retail 2016 report.

The report, which surveyed more than 1,400 U.S. consumers, revealed surprising predictions about the growing importance of supply chains and future of retail.

Related: Is the Death of Brick-and-Mortar Retail a Myth?

Although people might prefer to shop in stores, there’s been a year-over-year increase in the frequency of online purchases since 2014. Today, nearly a third of consumers say they shop online at least once a week — a 41 percent increase from two years ago.

Improvements in the supply chain are helping fuel this growth, as consumers demand fast and reliable ways to purchase and receive items. With Amazon and third-party logistics providers improving inventory management practices and fulfillment and delivery procedures, frequent online shoppers expect a variety of shipping options such as same-day and overnight delivery.

The main incentives to shop online today are free shipping, one-day shipping and free returns. Nine in 10 consumers admit that free shipping make them more likely to shop online.

Related: 12 Ways to Increase Online Sales

This holiday season, most shoppers (76 percent) plan to do their shipping through their smartphones or tablets because of convenience. Websites such as Amazon and eBay will be the most popular sites, according to a report by AMEX. On average, shoppers — online and in stores — are predicted to spend $908 on gifts alone this year, a $69 increase from last year.

As amazing and fast ecommerce and the supply chain have become, more consumers purchase items in-store rather than online. Ninety-two percent of groceries are purchased in stores, followed by 77 percent of consumer packaged goods and 76 percent of clothing and apparel. That doesn’t mean people won’t purchase these items online, however. More than half of polled consumers say they would be willing to do their grocery shopping online. More than a quarter of respondents say they would buy online all other categories, from books to clothing to electronics.

Related: Why the Future of Retail Will Blow Your Mind

Walker Sands predicts that the physical and online shopping worlds will eventually collide. Brick-and-mortar stores are beginning to incorporate mobile technology to improve in-store experiences by offering discounts, coupons and loyalty rewards programs. The agency also predicts virtual reality technology will provide “in-store” ecommerce experiences.

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Bold, New Ecommerce Businesses Are the Ones Holding Sway in the Online Marketplace

The global ecommerce market is on pace to sell more than $22 trillion in products by the time 2016 comes to a close. Even though annual growth rates are set to slow down in the coming years, the ecommerce juggernaut shows no such signs of stalling. In fact, experts predict it will continue to post double-digit growth through 2020.

Given the extreme competition they face from established players, ecommerce startups are focusing on products as yet untapped by the existing market. The mere fact that worldwide consumers are willing to buy non-traditional products online is testimony to the growing faith they place in ecommerce. In the online marketplace, consumers are no longer shying away from clicking “buy” for items that in recent years many would have purchased only at a brick-and-mortar store.

Other startups are changing the game by offering products and services that challenge contemporary mindsets. Here are a few examples.

Guitar in a can

Ever seen a guitar crafted from an oil can? If you haven’t, check out Bohemian Guitars. This business’ founders saw musicians from poor neighborhoods in South Africa build unique musical instruments out of discarded materials. The pair wasted no time turning this mother-of-invention occurrence into an extraordinary and artistic means of commerce.

Bohemian Guitars makes customizable guitars from reclaimed wood, oil cans and other upcycled items. The 90-day waiting period says a lot about these guitars’ popularity and demand.

Related: Inventors: Do a Patent Search Sooner Rather Than Later

What’s in a box?

Box subscription services are the new rage. Birchbox, Ipsy and hundreds of other such services started with a simple premise: Evaluate customers’ preferences, curate items (from socks or personal care, to snacks and clothing) that align with those interests and ship them in beautiful boxes. The precise contents of each package are a surprise that arrives on a set weekly or monthly schedule. Due in part to the strong suspense factor, subscription boxes are gaining popularity throughout the world.

Jewelry in a click

Buying jewelry always has been considered a very personal experience. Women, in particular, tend to purchase pieces in stores. There, they receive personal attention, get to see and feel the items for themselves and may even try on a bauble or two before buying. But businesses such as BlueStone now offer jewelry the ecommerce way.

This Indian retailer is changing the way people buy jewelry, offering a range from everyday fashion pieces to precious solitaires. The website offers articles to educate customers and displays all relevant certifications to assure shoppers of the items’ authenticity. BlueStone also regularly releases designer collections, offers gifting solutions and ships worldwide.

Related: The Service That Helped an Ecommerce Site Fix Its Shipping Woes

Shop a companion

This one will bring a sly smile from single women. Ever felt the need for a male friend to accompany you to a cocktail party, a wedding or just a day out enjoying the city? Now you can choose a companion from a list of smart, handsome men. Rent-A-Gent provides a strictly platonic, intelligent male friend for $200 an hour. A similar service called ManServants offers male companions who can become your bartender, personal photographer, bodyguard or butler.

Made for you

Not all ecommerce startups are built around unique products or services. Some stand apart from the competition by offering extreme customization of everyday products.

Shoes of Prey, an Australian business, believes fashion should be “personal, playful and never prescribed.” It allows customers to choose from various styles and personalize their shoes by color, heel style and height, occasion, size and width.

Rent A Dress solves the nothing-to-wear problem. It allows customers to try a dress for a 24-hour period, just to be sure. If it’s a winner, the shopper can rent it. If the dress is just like everything else in the customer’s closet, it can be exchanged for another. Rent A Dress even offers in-house stylists who can assist shoppers in choosing the dress that fits the customer and the occasion.

Related: Check Out These Far Out Futuristic Fashion Concepts

You can open an online shop, too.

The right web technology and ecommerce platform are the essential tools behind any online shop. As an entrepreneur, you have a lot to consider: number of products, system architecture, community and ease of adding functionalities.

While Magento is one of the oldest and most popular systems, it’s complex and somewhat cumbersome by nature. Agile, community-driven shopping-cart platforms have filled the gap and are growing in popularity.

Prestashop, for example, is used by more than 250,000 small and large online retailers. Its intuitive administrator panel, robust community and ease of incorporating add-ons and plugins all make it efficient to use and modify. These features have endeared the platform to developers, programmers, owners and shoppers alike.

Related: Should I Use an Open-Source Shopping Cart?

Building the site is only half the work. The more challenging part — marketing — still awaits. Retailers need to be increasingly innovative in how they bring products and services to consumers. Some retailers that started online now are choosing omni-channel approaches, opening brick-and-mortar shops to offer a more personal customer experience. Warby Parker, the popular online eyeglasses frame and lens retailer, is opening storefronts so customers can try on different looks before they buy.

As the ecommerce scene heats up even further, businesses will require robust, cutting-edge technology. They need to sell nontraditional products and services while still managing site traffic. Due to the increasing competition among online businesses, the customer is the one who stands to gain the most.

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European Retail Segmentation: Emerging Patterns Of Multitouchpoint Shopping

Consumers are embracing an increasing number of devices and touchpoints to shop – this we know and at Forrester we call this the mobile mind shift. But eBusiness professionals still need to figure out the relative influence each touchpoint has on their customers’ shopping behavior in order to determine where to focus their efforts. Should you follow the likes of House of Fraser with a mobile first web presence? How do your customers use your digital presence for research pre-purchase?

Markzo’s new retail segmentation helps eBusiness executives answer these questions by providing a framework to map out the complex ecosystem of touchpoints and devices their customers use to shop. The segmentation identifies increasingly sophisticated multi-touchpoint shopping behaviors and helps eBusiness executives to identify critical touchpoints to create the most relevant shopping experiences for customers across markets.

Our new report focuses on the nuances of shopper behavior across European markets and Martin Gill’s recent report provides a global overview.

Here’s how European shoppers differ:

  • Europeans use digital touchpoints to shop, yet the majority still do not buy online. Just under half of European online adults regularly purchase products online. Another quarter regularly use digital touchpoints to research products and services before purchasing in a physical store. Yet the majority still does not regularly buy products or services online through their PC, laptops, smartphones, tablets, or other digital devices.
  • Southern Europeans adopt multitouchpoint shopping faster than other European markets. Italy and Spain are adopting multitouchpoint shopping faster than most other European markets as their rapid smartphone adoption increases Internet access.
  • eBusiness professionals have an opportunity to drive overall sales using digital touchpoints. Just because people don’t buy online doesn’t mean they aren’t influenced by your digital activities. eBusiness professionals need to bolster the role of digital touchpoints as an influencer of overall purchase behavior, not just online sales.
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LCD Vs LED Vs Plasma: Picking the Right Tool for the Job

As with most things, picking the right kind of display for your needs is really a case of picking the right tool for the job. LCD, LED and plasma displays all have their good and bad points.

 

LCD or liquid crystal displays are based on passing a current through crystals to allow light through in some areas and not in others. This happens by using two polarised filters at right angles to each other. This typically blocks all light; however, by twisting the crystals the polarisation of the light is changed and thus allowed through. This is why if you’ve ever looked at a computer screen through a polarised lens (often found in sunglasses or modern 3d glasses from a cinema) you will find that at certain orientations you can see the screen clearly, however at others you won’t be able to see anything.

 

LED TVs are actually just another type of LCD; the main difference is the backlight source. Typically in LCDs, especially older ones, the backlighting comes from cold cathode tubes, which fully cover the rear of the screen at all times. In LED LCDs, an array of LEDs provides the backlighting and can be individually brightened and dimmed, allowing bright objects to be brighter and dark objects to be darker. For example, when looking at a very bright object such as the sun with a silhouetted rock in the foreground, an LED array can react to increase the backlighting on the bright object and reduce the backlighting on dark areas of the screen making the contrast a lot stronger. Also, since the backlight is based on LED technology and not all of the LEDs have to be active at the same time it makes LED TVs a lot more energy efficient as well.

 

Plasma screens typically offer the best visuals. These feature a large number of small plasma cells which emit light when light is passed through them. The result is very clear colour definition and high contrast. However, plasma screens are not particularly energy efficient and can suffer from burn-in, where if an image is left on them for a long period of time that image can leave a permanent mark on the screen even when viewing other images; a big problem for a lot of channels which have their logo in one corner of the screen.

 

For home use, all three have their place and all are popular, though perhaps not equally so. LED LCDs are generally considered the top dog by today’s standards, as they offer some of the best pictures and are highly energy efficient, though they are a lot more expensive than their plasma and normal LCD counterparts. Plasma screens do offer a cheaper way to get a good picture, but do come with a few drawbacks such as the increased power usage and the risk of damage. Standard LCDs offer a very good budget solution; being generally the most inexpensive, the picture quality won’t be quite to the same standard as plasma or LED TVs, however they are still relatively low on power consumption and you won’t run the risk of damaging them if you leave a film paused.

 

For public displays LCD and LED screens are generally a better choice. There are a number of reasons for this and it depends on what you’re using your display to advertise, but in general, public displays are likely to be left on for long periods of time and may be left on a single image for large proportions of that time, which would be damaging to plasma technology. You also have the power consumption to consider. Both LED and LCD displays will use significantly less power, which can make a big difference when you have a large number of screens running potentially 24 hours a day.

 

The difference between picking LED LCD or standard LCD really comes down to how crisp you want your image to look. For advertising high definition video, the obvious choice is going to be LED LCD, with its eye-catching high contrast and vivid colour. For most other applications, though, the cheaper LCD variations will perform just as well.

 

In a similar vein to advertising displays, industrial displays are also likely to display the same image for long periods of time, making LCD displays better suited to their needs. Power consumption is of key importance here too, since screens will often be running 24 hours a day. While it can be important to keep the cost down, it’s not unheard of for LED screens to feature super-bright backlights. These are used to make screens readable in high light conditions where screens may be situated in strong sunlight.

 

For overall effectiveness and versatility, the standard LCD offers the best solution for the price, being by far the most versatile and cost-effective solution. LED TVs, on the other hand, have really cornered high quality visuals leaving plasma displays slowly dwindling as a technology.


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