Your Business Online | Professional Jeweler

May 22, 2000
E-Commerce Changing Character
Emphasize security and confidence to build user loyalty

Quality, price, convenience and availability are expected, but not rewarded, by online shoppers, says a recent study. The study also concluded that – for jewelers – superior presentation is also a requirement.

"There are commonalities across all Web sites that contribute to the overall success," said Harry Wolhandler, vice president of research, ActivMedia Research. "These become the foundation to online success, but do not help one Web site compete more effectively over another. The key is implementing techniques that fill the gaps in consumer satisfaction where others fall short."

Overall, a strong guarantee and post-sale support, for example, are important in building product loyalty. To establish vendor loyalty, a history of offline purchases helps, as do suggestions of products based upon those prior purchases.

Perhaps the most encouraging trend observed in the company's study, called "Capturing Online Markets," is the shortened time between when shoppers first come online to seek information and when they make their first online purchases.

Key findings include:

  • Consumers who have been online over four years took an average of 22 months before making their first purchase online.
  • The average e-commerce transaction by consumers who have been online more than five years is twice that of those newest to the Internet, averaging $388 as compared with $187 for those online one year.
  • Those arriving in the past year only waited an average of four months to purchase, with many purchasing within a month.
  • Product interests and Web demographics are shifting, opening doors for traditional markets.
  • Shoppers are quickly moving beyond computers and books and into mainstream target segments like home & garden, collectibles, toys and major purchases.
  • New online marketing opportunities are becoming narrower, but a growing reliance on online resources within market niche, more frequent online purchasing and growing loyalty to brands are creating market opportunities in the competitive online world.

- by Mark E. Dixon