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Consumer attitudes and preferences concerning shopping online

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 1250 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In the late 1990s, plenty of experts and companies believed that e-commerce would flourish and threaten to traditional retailers because online shopping has significant superiority than traditional shopping in term of more convenience, lower price and more information. Unfortunately, this promise of the shift in consumer shopping preferences has not occurred. Furthermore, consumers have been slow to respond to this novel way of business.

  • This project has the following two research aims:
  • To find what factors affect consumers to choose shopping method.
  • To determine consumers’ attitude towards e-commerce.
  • To compare e-commerce and traditional shopping methods


The rate at which consumers accept online shopping has been slower than the expectation of academic. This project studies consumer attitudes and preferences towards e-commerce, and understands consumers’ considerations affecting their attitudes to online shopping vs. traditional shopping. It was decided that the best method to adopt for this investigation was questionnaire, because it is easier to understand consumer attitude and preferences for online shopping.

Participants of this survey forms a population sample of 30 people from the University of Newcastle. These respondents come from different backgrounds, ages and professional experience. One distinguishing attribute shared by the respondents is that the age of respondents span from 20 to 29. Although a wider range of age group respondents would have provided a more precise and representative information, the existing population sample still provides reasonable accuracy and reliability. The data was obtained through questionnaires of a random sampling.

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The questionnaire comprises of 3 parts, of 12 questions. Part I (3 questions) examines the participants’ backgrounds. Part II (2 questions) examines the main reasons why people would shop online, and in the case that they do not shop online, why they would not. These questions are often close and most respondents chose multiple reasons in each side. Part III (8 questions) are likert scale questions that compare the advantages of online shopping against that of traditional shopping.

The results of this project suggest that consumers have extremely different attitudes and preferences to online shopping and traditional shopping. There are three main reasons for not shopping online concerning about credit security, not touching/trying-on products ,length of time to get products and delivery fees. On the other hand, convenience, lower price and better access are three main reasons for shopping online. E-tailors should improve the weakness and enhance the goodness, and it will promote the development of e-commerce.

Reasons not to shop online

“Credit card security” is the biggest problem in e-commerce. Consumers afraid about cracker can steal their account and use their personal information. Ghosh(Security& Privacy for E-business,2001) states that “this problem is not new and will not go away in the short time.”However, E-commerce has used a more advanced and complex transaction channel to relieve the problem. Secure and safe online shopping guides are the best choice for customers, for instance, they can use latest version of their Internet Explorer with Secure Sockets Layer to send the professional standard of data online and save transactions of record (The shopping Guide,2002). E-commerce vendors should change consumers’ attitude towards security problem with online transaction. In another way, governments and business regulations have responsibility to protect consumers’ profit. So they develop business laws or regulations to increase online safety.

The second most common reason for not shopping online is “unable to touch or try-on products”. A majority of consumers believe that it is necessary to try on products for checking appearance, fit and feel before they can make a purchase decision. Unfortunately, it is not possible for e-commerce. In order to solve the problem, an “online try-on” process has been used by many website stores recently. Customers can input their physical data, such as height, waist and shoulder breadth in the system and a visual model will be created according to the measurements. Then online purchasers can put on the clothes and accessories they wanted for the model via the automatic try-on software. An example picture of the try-on procedure is in appendix.

“Unable to take a long waiting time for get product” is another reason that influence customers’ attitude towards online shopping. The waiting time for products is quite longer than traditional shopping. E-commerce should find ways to decrease delivery cycle time, such as quality assurance delivery companies and PC Connection. Thus, most orders can be placed and delivered on the same day.

The forth most common reason about “delivery fees”. Consumers should pay for shipping fees when they purchase goods online and return the dissatisfactory products. To encourage people shopping online, the online sellers can provide free delivery and product return for the customer who has spent certain amounts of money (e.g. ¿¡20 or more).

Reasons to shop online

The first of benefit for shopping online is “convenient”. Customer can buy anything ,without moving their home or office. It is a huge impact on traditional shop Moreover, customers pay attention to “competitive pricing”. Lowered costs to retailer is a main factor to reduce the price(chan,2001). “better access” is the third most common reason. Customers can compare prices and make purchases at their own convenient time. Normally, traditional shop has an opening time and customers only visit these store at these period.


The results not only explain reasons why people shop online, but also provide advices that customers might still prefer traditional shopping. Most respondents in this investigation favor in-store shopping. According to Comor (2000), consumption is like other institutions in terms of ‘mode of thought and practice’ that the interviewees of this study have well built their shopping behavior.

In order to shop on-line, Consumers need to change their modes of thinking to shopping. One of the thought patterns to affect the website shopping behavior is security issue. More than one third of the interviewees emphasized that credit card security is the prominent reason not to choose on-line shopping. 18 of 30 respondents tend to traditional shopping due to its considerable advantage in concern with security. E-sellers should do more work to release customer’s consideration of security. Another thought pattern is linked to shopping behavior about the demand for customer service. The research presents that the customer service of on-line shopping is deficient. E-sellers need to enhance their customer services through providing more direct customer communication, such as interactive chatting tool. Moreover, they can also emphasize the strengths of on-line shopping (e.g. price, convenience and accessibility) to encourage consumers to transfer shopping behaviors from actual store to internet purchasing.

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