Today, shoppers’ tendency to buy things has changed to exploring product facts online and then buying offline. Since shoppers grow to be convenient combining in store, catalogue and Internet shopping experiences, retailers must flawlessly incorporate those channels or be prepared to lose the string of their purse in proportion to more alert rivals.
The Online Retailing story tells that the Internet is playing a key role in revolutionising the shopping experience in many ways – on and offline.
With the help of Internet, customers have enabled themselves and given themselves the understanding to evaluate old items, find new ones, communicate with other shoppers and even find low-cost items, and for all these they don’t take pains to walk to a store near to their residence.
The fast going and growing world with on-the-click-shopping forces retailers to design new policies for capturing customers. To attract fresh consumers and to keep and redouble rapport with old ones, retailers have to satisfy customers. For this every retailer has to acquire a level of organisational and technological integration that new researches point out.
Consumer behaviour is the analysis of persons, groups, or organizations and the procedures they apply to select, secure, use, and discard products, services, experiences, or thoughts to meet requirements and the results these procedures have on the consumer and society.
Consumer research gives the companies and organisations complete knowledge to improve their marketing policies by taking an insight in the issues like how consumers think and select among various brands and products; how consumers’ environment (culture, family, media) influence them; the consumers’ behaviour at the time of purchasing and taking other marketing decisions; how shortcomings in consumer awareness or information processing strengths affect decisions and marketing results; and how businessmen can change and enhance their marketing promotions and marketing policies to reach the consumer more efficiently. This knowledge will help marketers to make their policies consumer-oriented. To enable themselves to take more informed decisions like which policy to employ, marketers have to understand consumer behaviour.
Consumers can be divided into four categories.
. Goal directed shopper
. Experiential shopper
. Experienced with retailer’s site
. New visitor to a retailer’s site
Goal directed shopper
This category of shoppers takes only genuine shoppers, who are serious about their online purchase. Such shoppers can be the first-time visitors to the site. Choice of goal is a function of the personal valence of a potential goal for a shopper. The shopper selects his goal grounded on the intelligence of the positive result (valence) and negative result (cost) of achieving a potential goal. If a consumer wants to save time, the reason to save time comes out as the primary motivational force. On the other hand, various reasons are included in a goal-directed behaviour that do not essentially assist to achieve the same goal. Here, it is imagined that consumers would compare the positive result and negative result and then select the more beneficial goal. Two reasons come out when a shopper wants a superior quality of product at a reasonable price. Nevertheless, expensiveness of quality products makes the consumer in dilemma of how much money to spend after such products. Finally, a reasonable stability between these opposite reasons would affect the purchasing goal and later action.
These shoppers are pleasure seekers, visiting the site just for the recreational purpose or to enrich their bank of information. Such shoppers are labeled as window shopper. Guided by the emotional content, these shoppers always prefer low-ticket products to high-ticket ones. Since they are inspired by their emotions, retailers can attract them with visually engaging design and verbally rich narrations. But the content writers must not forget that these narrations should not be long and strictly adhered to subject only.
For the success of online retailing, these customers have to be faithful. As contest between storefronts regarding price is little, to promote repeat purchases, low-ticket stores need to generate other resources. To make this feasible, retailers can facilitate their consumers with the services like brand awareness, satisfaction and customization. Consumers tend to share their experiences with their relatives and friends and that is why a positive buying experience is a success key. Low-ticket items can be proved a hit if they are associated with a popular brand, and therefore a complete marketing and advertising drive to mark the name in the consumers’ head is essential.
Though the buying experience can normally be divided into the above classes, it is significant to notice that the division is not an ordinary, and an experiential buyer today can be a potential goal directed shopper tomorrow. Having a successful emotional experience at a website while in “window shopping” mode may very well predict goal directed shopping at the same website. A winning high-ticket website must offer prospects for both models, enabling the user to be emotionally used at the correct times and data/price comparison driven at the other correct times.
Inexperienced shoppers are completely unknown to e-retailing. These consumers, though do not have any knowledge of e-retailers’ site, may have thorough understanding of other sites. For division’s sake, retailers should classify the inexperienced shoppers to have the wants of fresh purchases. For consumers, who are inexperienced with items, decrease of disagreement is an objective. The consumer will be less harsh-toned if he has large data of knowledge of item. Another supposition is that one day inexperienced consumers will become experienced.
Faithful and experienced consumers are familiar with e-retailers’ site and enjoy surfing the site. But if these consumers don’t find any new to surf, they will definitely lose the joy of navigation. This means that inexperienced consumers will have more fun than the experienced ones. But the experienced consumers can better utilise the worth of data they acquired from the site.
Experienced shoppers don’t get impressed or overwhelmed with the online atmosphere and understand the size of perfect data provided by site. Convenience, choice, quality, cost and dependability provide a strong ground on which relationship between the faithful customer and the retailer is built up. Since service is the driving force of maintenance rates, it is a crucial part of the combination.
What benefits consumers expect in E-Retailing
Retailers have to recognise the motivation by which potential buyers are driven to go for on-line shopping. There are four basic facilities on-line buyers are hungry for.
. They don’t want to spend more time after shopping. Take a nuclear family of a big city with both spouses working and having tight schedule. They cannot afford to go for a time-consuming shopping.
. Apart from the time constraint, big shots of industry want flexible shopping time, which can be provided by on-line shopping.
. It is pointed out by research that on-line shoppers are not much aware of price or brand because they are met with unlimited data on the Internet. Genuine consumers look more for value than only price of commodities.
. Consumers may have the tendency to buy things inspired by advertisements or their impulses. Marketer of CDs and books can capitalise this habit of consumers. Marketers can use the data bank of such consumers and develop a rapport with consumers by inspecting the choices and brand required by them. Buyers can also be lured to purchase fashion apparels on-line. What retailers should keep spirited is the excitement of online purchasing by introducing variety of categories.
On-line Retailing: plusses and minuses
. Retailers can obtain furnishing value to consumers by giving a product or product-line that attract potential consumers at a competitive price, as in non-electronic commerce.
. Retailers have the opportunity to provide the best services just like face-to-face retailer and may achieve these goals.
. Customers can be provided with websites that have graphical, colourful and attractive properties with photographs and images.
. Give your customers the advantages of incentives and sales promotions on-line including coupons, special offers and discounts.
. Now retailers can personally attend each and every of their customers with personalised websites, buying suggestions and personalised special offers.
. With the help of chat rooms, discussion boards, retailers can give an atmosphere of intimacy with consumers by inter-relationship.
. A complete and all-inclusive vision of customer relationship.
. Going to the bottom of customers’ experience by constant contact with customers; this experience will become synonymous with the brand.
. With the help of re-engineering and technologies, retailers can organise business procedures. Providing the customers self-serve sites without any help and thus enabling them to help themselves.
. E-retailers should give their customers’ abundant relative data and good search resources to describe customers’ job.
. Despite having these key components for success in On-line Retailing, some difficulties can be occurred. Let us now consider minuses of this great business style:
. With on-line retailing, retailers cannot be familiar with consumer psychology. If manufacturers and retailers fall short of understanding behaviour, expectations and motivations of customers, a product with a good value plan can fail.
. Online retailing does not provide the opportunity to consider the competitive situation.
. This system has also the disadvantage of unpredictability, i.e. retailers do not know what competitors plan to do next; if the competitors will launch competitive websites, if they will try to damage competitor’s site, if they launch themselves into price wars.
. During the resource planning and employee training, issues like ability or inability of staff, hardware, software and processes to handle the proposed strategy and failure of e-retailers to develop employee and management skills can be taken place.
. If present reporting and control associations do not satisfy, one can move to a flat, dependable and supple organisational formation, which may or may not assist co-ordination.
. Higher management fails to impart 100% dedication and that causes a failure to take enough corporate capital to execute a task.
. If the strategy is not discussed with employees by planners, or the employees are not given the entire scenario, then training and setting up incentives for workers to accept the strategy may assist.
. Since establishing an e-commerce business consumes much time and money, failure to recognize the timing and ordering of tasks can cause considerable cost exceeds.
. After the extraordinary early planning, if the accomplishment is inferior and inadequate pursuing of growth against a plan can create difficulties.
How the textile and apparel industry affect E-retailing
E – Retailing has several challenges from textile and apparel industry to deal with.
It is a very tough nut to crack to characterise the product on-line. On-line purchase does not offer the customers the facility to select the garment by experiencing the colour, feel and fit of the product. Furthermore, retailers cannot convince the customers to purchase apparels with the help of customer reviews, reviews by industry professionals or comparisons centred on independent performance appraisals. Industry norms for characterising colour and fabric are more recognizable types of communication for business associates than for individual consumers and this is the reason these barriers will function more as a restraint in the B2C fragment of e-commerce than in the B2B section.
Moreover, what multiplies the trouble in characterising the product is personal, often emotional nature of apparel purchase. The decisions taken while buying apparels are coloured by persons’ opinions about themselves, their physical impression and the image they wish others to look at. Clothing is so much associated with human personality that customers are more concerned with their emotions than reason while purchasing apparels. This clearly points out that customers give much more emphasis to purchase of clothing than any other products like books, music, food and electronics.
It is a fact accepted by all that existing B2C sites fails to characterise their products effectively to enable consumers to make beneficial selections. Excessive profit rate is the most forceful in apparel items bought on line. Rates for catalogue apparel buying are reflected in profit rates for apparel purchased on-line: one prediction tells that returns for apparel purchased from catalogues varied from 12% to 35%, based on the product’s style and how fashion-advanced it was. For informal apparel, returns fell particularly in the 12%-18% scale, for extra-fitted fashions, returns were 20-28%, and for high fashion, they were as high as 35%.
What consumers want on the web is accuracy of colour. A web survey carried out revealed that 88% of customers would shop at an Internet site only if it could promise genuine and exact colour. The survey also told that consumers are more interested in buying products like videos, CDs, books and computer stationeries, which were not depended on colour. People buying online are not sure whether they will get what they expect, particularly when they are buying apparels. And this is the reason why they avoid on-line apparel buying. Consumers want perfect descriptions of colour and for this they go for printed catalog.
As said by a research, basic items are selling greatly on-line. Type of product plays a crucial role in differing the purchases consumers make on-line. On account of its countless features, basic products are more acquiescent to on-line purchasing. Since these products are well known, they make their sketches easier to figure out. Buyers are familiar with the touch and feel of garments and these properties are same across products; these properties make the customer less doubtful to buy them and the customer does not get startled to receive the garment. Likewise, the fit of various garment styles should be better understood, which facilitates online purchase. The cut of a basic garment may be milder because it can match a variety of body types. Items such as men’s dress shirts and women’s hosiery with constant, recognized sizing are also accepting to on-line buying. The cost of basic garments is essentially less than fashionable ones, which also contributes to a lower level of hazard in an on-line purchase. Moreover, the commonness of the basic products makes their purchase less thrilling than more fashion-forward items.
More the trendy items, more the danger to buy online: due to the enhanced value of touch and feel, colour and cost, and the enhanced touching aspect related with more fashionable apparels, the choice to buy online is more important. Since it is impossible for consumers to look for exclusive or extraordinary product in the local markets, Internet will enter the fashion sections of the market, relatively. The skill to tailor clothing for fit, fabric, or style should also give energy to multiply on-line sales of fashionable apparels.