TAMPA, Fla. - Pranjal Gupta devotes his time to studying people’s online shopping behavior.
Gupta is a marketing professor at the University of Tampa and his expertise is in web-based consumer behavior.
On the so-called ‘Cyber Monday,’ when people flock to websites looking to take advantage of great online deals, Gupta explained some significant differences in people’s shopping behavior at a brick-and-mortar store versus an online website.
First of all, Gupta said online shoppers are more impatient than people who visit a brick-and-mortar store. That makes them less deliberate in their decision-making and more likely to make a rash decision on whether to purchase something.
Secondly, Gupta said online shoppers tend to stick to companies they know when shopping online. Whereas a brick-and-mortar store might lend some credibility to a less-well-known company, a website does not convey the same credibility. Because of that, online shoppers are more leery of websites.
The Better Business Bureau, however, believes that is a good thing. In a list of ten things people should remember when shopping online during ‘Cyber Monday,’ the bureau recommended only shopping on websites belonging to companies you know.
Gupta’s third point also involved trust. He believes people who travel to a brick-and-mortar store look for visual cues to decide whether they trust a company. Those visual cues include, among other things, a handshake from a salesman, whether the salesman makes eye contact and whether they’re friendly.
However, an online shopper can not do any of those things. Instead, Gupta believes an online consumer decides whether he or she can trust a company by looking at their website. Trust is built if the consumer believes the website has been designed to help them accomplish what they want to accomplish.
Finally, Gupta suggests that online shoppers do rely on reviews and comments to determine whether they want to buy a product. Specifically, people who are less familiar with their product are more likely to rely on comments.
But, Gupta has also found that people less familiar with their product -- and who are relying on online comments -- are more likely to purchase a product not perfectly-suited to them.
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