The internet changed almost every aspect of our society, though perhaps none quite as drastically as the way in which we buy things. It feels as if almost overnight we suddenly gained access to infinitely more products, and even more places to buy them. This radical change impacted, and will continue to impact, every industry differently. Some products, such as books and consumer electronics are rapidly becoming exclusively purchased online, while others, such as automobiles, have remained a “real-world” commodity. As a retailer, it’s crucial to understand where your products fall in this spectrum. This is why Nielson’s new report on internet buying habits is crucially important for online businesses.
In the report, Nielson conducted a survey of 27,000 internet users in 55 markets from Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, North America and South America and charted their past and intended future internet purchases. What they found was that consumer electronics seem specifically suited for online marketplaces.
Not only is consumer electronic equipment trending as the fourth most likely category of goods to be purchased online, the survey also noticed that consumer electronics are uniquely tailored to an online audience. More than 35% of the respondents reported purchasing products from sites that only exist online, without a brick-and-mortar counterpart. This is significantly more than the second largest demographic, only 20%, who shop at online stores that search multiple other sites. This trend towards online-only stores shows a growing consumer trust in exclusively online retailers. As these online retailers tend to be dominated by personal electronic equipment, it is likely that we’ll see consumer electronics rise higher on our list, surpassing more common consumer goods such as books and clothes, which many consumers do not feel comfortable purchasing from an online only retailer.
When respondents were asked what products they would only buy after reading an online recommendation, no other product scored higher than electronic equipment. 40% of those surveyed said they would not purchase any electronic device without reading an online review. This means that without a proper recommendation service on your site, you are losing up to 40% of your potential clientele immediately.
Guided shopping engines such as BestMatch can help keep these customers on your site. BestMatch can provide not only user reviews, but also sophisticated algorithms generated by real product experts that help your customers find the products that are right for them. As more consumers switch to purchasing electronics exclusively online, and more of these customers require online recommendation tools before they make a purchase, services like BestMatch will become increasingly influential in the success of online merchants.
The question for the future is: what kind of e-commerce businesses will most capitalize on the influx of new personal electronics customers? The answer: those that give their customers the best experience with product recommendation engines such as BestMatch.
Nielson, Online Shopping Trends Report, 2010