February 13, 2012, 10:49 AM

IRWD 2012: E-retailers must recognize consumers’ desire for information

A design conference speaker says pricing matters less than product information.

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The convenience of shopping on the web, as well as the ease of online product research, is often more important to consumers than the low prices found on the Internet. Those aspects should guide e-commerce design, said Lauren Freedman, president of The E-tailing Group this morning during the opening session of the Internet Retailer Web Design and Usability Conference 2012 in Orlando, FL.

Drawing upon a survey of 1,035 consumers conducted in the fourth quarter of 2011, Freedman told attendees that 80% of respondents said one reason they like web shopping is because of the wealth of product information available online. 75% also said they like the convenience of e-commerce. “The power of information is very important,” Freedman said, advising attendees to keep that in mind when undertaking site design work.  “If you don’t have the information consumers need, they’ll go elsewhere.”

66% of respondents said they like web shopping because it is less expensive. By comparison, 67% said one reason they like shopping in physical stores is because they want to touch products.

Retailers should never lose sight of what Amazon.com Inc. is doing, Freedman said. That’s because 60% of consumers first check prices on Amazon.com before going elsewhere. And 40% of survey respondents make more than 23% of their web purchases from Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

E-retailers also have to meet consumer expectations for discounts and deals, Freedman said. That’s because half of consumers say they never or rarely pay full price and 73% of them view unconditional free shipping as critical or very important to them.

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