Some retailers launched online deals well in advance of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Web buyers—while growing in number—still prefer to buy in traditional offline stores, according to Forrester Research. But e-retailers can win more market share with targeted marketing messages to price-sensitive shoppers, it adds.
Although the number of online buyers is increasing, web buyers still prefer to shop in traditional offline stores, according to a new study from Forrester Research Inc.
During a three-month period last year, web buyers spent on average $511 at retail stores, compared with $313 spent online, according to the study. In addition, two-thirds of online buyers ranked retail stores as their preferred shopping channel, outpacing the 31% who turn first to the web for shopping needs. 54% of web buyers make purchases at a retail store at least weekly, while only 16% buy over the web on a weekly basis.
Online consumers also expect to find more bargain-basement prices online than in stores, despite multi-channel retailers’ efforts to become channel-agnostic with their pricing strategies, Forrester says in the study, “Retail Channel Surfers Prefer to Buy Offline,” by Forrester analysts Carrie Johnson and Peter Hult. Two-thirds of web buyers feel that the price of an item should be lower online than in a store, while fewer than one-third expect to find a lower price in other channels. 73% of male web buyers expect a better deal over the web, compared with 60% of female web buyers.
The expectation of a cheaper price online than in the store increases steadily with online tenure: 58% of web buyers with less than three years of online tenure versus 71% of web buyers with 10 or more years of online experience.
But the study also provides encouraging insights for e-retailers. It shows that the online channel is far ahead of catalog, phone and TV shopping channels, and it notes that 68% of web buyers purchase online at least once a month, compared to 11% for catalogs.
Online retailers should address the gap with stores, the report suggests, “by using targeted marketing campaigns, feeding on the growth in multi-channel retail, and implementing better promotional strategies.” With online consumers particularly price-sensitive, web merchants should take advantage of their ability to engage shoppers in targeted online price promotions, Forrester adds.