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Shopping online for big ticket items

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Monday May 12, 2008 )

According to a recent survey, the number of consumers needing to “touch and feel” big ticket items is dropping substantially.

An earlier PriceGrabber survey in 2006 showed 70 percent of respondents stating this as the main reason they wouldn’t make a major home product purchase online, but this reduced to 56% in their March 2008 survey.

It’s an encouraging result, but interesting to note that while over 80% of those surveyed state they carry out online research for home furniture and major appliances, only 31% of that number purchase the products online – so there’s an absolute ton of cash being left on the virtual table.

Would I purchase a fridge sight unseen except for pics and specs on a web site? Sure, if the retailer was reputable, the warranty rock solid and if the cost of the freight would be less than the value of my time spent in picking the darned thing up or going into the store and booking a delivery.

It seems that delivery is an issue that sticks in everyone’s craw. The survey report states that 72% of consumers also say free home delivery would improve the likelihood they’d make a major home product purchase online. This has me thinking a little – if that’s not possible, perhaps delivery needs to be sold in a different way on web sites – value vs cost.

For example, for me to physically go to the nearest store selling fridges, arrange everything and then come back home would probably knock an hour or so out of my day. That’s an hour that I could be doing something else; perhaps earning cash. Additionally, I just hate going out in madding crowds.

In many places, it would take far longer than that to complete the expedition. Maybe this is an angle online retailers need to take a little more when selling the dreaded shipping cost beastie.

We often say “shop from the convenience of your home”, but we don’t say exactly how it’s convenient; and for many people these days, time and stress reduction is as good as dollars in the bank. We might assume that consumers realize this, but that being the case, why do we have “click here” and “buy now” buttons :).

Yet I digress – if you’d like to read more of the PriceGrabber report, you can view it here.

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