Survey: price, not security bars consumer e-commerce

Offer lower prices and the world will beat a path to your Web site

A new survey has confounded the assumption that security, or lack of it, is the biggest barrier to consumer acceptance of e-commerce. Defining the Internet Shopper: Attitudes, Objectives and Behaviour, a survey of some 55,000 online users conducted jointly by Jupiter Communications and NFO Interactive, found that many surfers who visited e-commerce sites (called 'non-shoppers') and those that didn't (dubbed 'browsers')were actually disuaded from making purchases because the prices weren't good enough. The study found that 35 per cent of the Net surfers had bought goods or services via the Web during the last year and were satisfied with the experience. According to the Jupiter/NFO data, over 77 per cent of browsers and 64 per cent of non-shoppers would buy goods and services online if they could make greater savings. Traditionally, concern over the safety of sending credit card details over the Net has been highlighted as the main reason why consumers are wary of e-commerce. Given we've known about the basic economic principle that buyers prefer to spend as little as possible for centuries, you'd have thought that it this would be obvious, but there you go. "Aggressive pricing on select items will get customers in the door, and is a crucial step to help win the next phase of the customer acquisition battle," said Evan Cohen, Jupiter's director of group research. But he warned: "Vendors shouldn't slash prices across the board, but strategic discounting will help [e-commerce] players to convert non-buyers into online purchasers." The survey also found that many consumers are using Web-sourced information to help them decided what to buy offline. According to the data, researching products and services was the third most popular online activity. At the same time, Internet usage remains the province of the middle classes and up. The survery found that 65 per cent of all domestic Net users live in households with incomes of $100,000 or more. ® Click for more stories

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