E-commerce Survey – Persuading an online sale

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PoLR carry out a fair amount of Internet marketing of e-commerce websites for our clients. It is because of this that we wanted to delve deeper into how a user finds an online shop and their motivations for buying at one online shop over another. We felt that it was all good and well us taking an educated guess as to the reasons but far better to hear directly from the buyers themselves.

Finding Products Online

First up, we wanted to know what drove traffic to an e-commerce website. Is it as simple as a Google search or is reputation the key?

Turns out a good old fashioned search engine was top of the list which makes everyone at PoLR very happy indeed! Seems there is still a need for us Search Engine Optimisers after all 😉

Our survey also showed that (as expected) word-of-mouth and reputation is an extremely powerful marketing tool with this taking the second and third place. I guess you could say that a strong Internet Marketing campaign plus a high quality of service should make for a successful business indeed. Not exactly rocket science but nice to see our initial thoughts backed up by fact!

  1. Search Engine
  2. Previous knowledge (used before or well known brand)
  3. Recommendation
  4. Result of offline advertising
  5. Result of online advertising (e.g paid advert on a blog)

Researching a Company

Now, a search engine is all good and well but what about when the user has the search result staring back at them from their computer monitor…what’s the next step?

Assuming they have not searched for your company specifically through a recommendation or previous knowledge.  Then according to our survey 71% of you research the company through consumer review sites etc before purchasing from them.

With this in mind, it’s a good idea to do a Google search on your own company every now and again too keep an eye on those reviews!

Influencing factors

Next we asked what was the main influencing factor that made our survey participants buy online once they were on an e-commerce website.

  1. Previous Experience i.e used site before
  2. Price
  3. First result in Search Engine
  4. Location of Shop or Seller
  5. Low Shipping charges or free shipping

Other influencing facts included cash back website, security and general reputation of the company.

The answers surprised us in some regards. Previous experience and price were expected to be high up on the scale, after all, who doesn’t look for a bargain? Being the first result in the search engine (although very good news to us) led to more questions; why the first result? Was it a time factor or do users have more trust in high ranking sites?

Another interesting factor was the location of the seller. Seems that users want the convenience of buying online but want to be able to find the company premises if the product doesn’t arrive! Not that anyone in our survey has needed to do this – all 100% have had only positive experiences shopping online to date!

Low shipping came surprisingly low in our results. Considering that unexpected shipping charges were high on the list of reasons for abandoned carts we would deduce from this that users are more than happy to pay for shipping in favour of quality of service, but need it displayed clearly.

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