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Gas Prices Drive Shoppers Online

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Thursday April 24, 2008 )

The price of oil reaching new highs is hardly news any more – and in the words of the great philosophers, Bachman Turner Overdrive, “B-B-B-Baby, you just ain’t seen nothin’ yet”. However, there is a silver lining to this cloud – it’s driving shoppers to spend their cash online.

High gas prices are something that Europeans are very familiar with. In the UK, gas is currently around 8 bucks US a gallon, even here in Australia it’s crept up to about US $5.40 a gallon – most of us have just grimly accepted it.

Yet US folks are freaking out about it possibly hitting 4 bucks a gallon soon? We may as all get used to it, this is only the beginning of the effects of Peak Oil.

Humans are pretty adaptive though and high gas prices mean ka-ching for online business. According to a survey of over 2,00 Americans carried out by Harris Interactive of behalf of iCongo, 33% of online U.S. adults stated they are more likely to shop online rather than in-person at a store due to the high price of gas.

If you’re a bricks and mortar store that just has a token brochure-type web site without full ecommerce functionality; it might be time to go full steam ahead with implementing a full-blown online store. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, items big or small – ecommerce is now at a stage whereby you can sell just about anything online.

For example, I bought a garden shed kit a couple of weeks back; didn’t leave my chair and it was shipped to my door; and I’m a very happy camper. It’s not something I’d usually buy sight unseen, but the motivators for me to purchasing this shed was the way the items were presented on the site – good pricing, full details and photos, toll free number and even a series of videos for klutzes like me on how to put it together. It was also one of the first results in my search on Google for garden sheds – getting in the top 5 for any popular related search term is vital.

If you’re not sure on how to move from a brochure site to an ecommerce enabled one, check out my beginner’s guide to ecommerce; plus you can pick up some handy search engine optimization tips here.


3 comments for Gas Prices Drive Shoppers Online
  1. I am glad there is some good to come out of high gas prices. I have a foot in the sticky end of this pricy juice.
    I sell auto workshop equipment and my customers are getting ready for a general drop in auto maintenance sales.

    Higher petrol prices+Less travel=less vehicle maintenance sales.

    We have decided to providing free marketing info and fuel saving strategies to our customers (auto workshops) to give to their customers. Same old story.. “When the going gets tough…..”

    Comment by Ern — April 24, 2008 @ 9:07 pm

  2. This article caught my eye immediately. With gas prices reaching the $3.50 a gallon level more and more people are second guessing the decision to run to the mall or Walmart or wherever. Good news for e-commerce but overall NOT good for America. I was told today that the government is considering a cap.

    Comment by E-Commerce Platform — April 25, 2008 @ 11:44 pm

  3. As consumers begin to shop more online, it will be interesting to see how awareness of free shipping or discounted shipping offers spreads. Many merchants – particularly in the clothing and apparel space – offer some sort of shipping incentive to help motivate purchases. These offers provide an excellent way to save – you avoid both the charge at the pump and skip the shipping fee associated with buying online.

    Comment by — June 21, 2008 @ 6:49 pm

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