Online Shopping: A 19 Year Old Experience

by Jordan Bates

As a 19 year old male, online shopping is very new to me, and therefore needs to be planned out very clearly – making sure I don’t buy unnecessary or frivolous purchases. I want to share with you my views as an online shopper and the different patterns of customer behaviour I have encountered since working with online grocers.

I finished my A-Levels and joined Elevaate in November of 2017 an an online trader – meaning I’m merchandising supplier products on retailers websites. I began learning about the grocers we are in partnership with and how banner vs native advertising are so totally different. Online retails is a frantic journey and can be prone to impulse. Understanding the many shopping behaviours online is key to suppliers and how they invest in online media.

As a shopper, like many others I look for several different aspects of a product before purchasing. Most obvious being the price. It may seem self-explanatory but even a slight price reduction has a huge impact on the sales of a product online. I have discovered that price reductions have different effects on the unit sales depending on the margin of discount. For example, a product reducing from £1.20 to £1 can have as much as a 40% uplift in sales, however a full half price promotion can equate to around 70-100% uplift. Offers like these are what I target as a customer. They are a lot more effective than multibuys historically as many customers such as myself, work on a budget when shopping.

Another aspect I look for is Brand Recognition. By recognising the brand I am automatically drawn to a product and psychologically feel that when i’ve bought a product from one brand, I am set in my ways. However it’s not just me, according to Teymour Bourial, INSEAD-trained marketer, practiced at L’Oréal, Saatchi & Havas “Brands reduce the perceived risk associated with spending money” the brand image helps to ease the customer of the quality o the product therefore making it a ‘safer’ option. Whether it means customers pay premium, the brand image is a key factor in online grocery. However loyalty to an individual brand isn’t always a positive in our field as traders, as loyalty can affect rival brands in which we promote. Trying to convert customers from a brand they’ve repeatedly bought from can be very challenging. A classic example we are familiar with is coffee. Kenco and Nescafe are clear rivals and promoting with both brands causes conflict in terms of sales and comparison. A loyal Nescafe drinker won’t usually convert to Kenco if both products are side by side being promoted and vise versa. Customer loyalties in the world of trading has proven to have had positive and negative effects.

Shopper activity is too chaotic and unpredictable to pinpoint. As a trader within Elevaate I have learnt to adapt to changes of behaviour usually depending on seasonal demand as well as the actual product.

Throughout the year, the demand for certain products change based on either events within the world at that time, or generally down the time of year it is i.e. Ice-cream and burgers in the summer and hot drinks in the winter. This is an aspect we are always cautious about when talking to a brand. Shopper patterns are influenced partly on the weather and brands recognise that too, which is why offers appear on different ranges throughout the year. I am not this type of shopper. I don’t buy fewer hot products in the summer or less cold products in the winter. Seasonal is not a big influence on my shopping however it is in many others.

Ecommerce is one of the largest growing sectors on the market. According to Pure360, 18% of all UK retail purchases will occur online this year, and “By 2040, it is thought 95% of purchases will be facilitated by eCommerce”. This statistic is a clear indicator that digital cannot be ignored by anyone. And we only have to look at Amazon to see that. However what I’m seeing is retailers are slow to respond to consumer demands and don’t seem to realise how tech can help their agility. And although everyone seems to talk about the shopper – there is no fixed rule for how shoppers behave online – so understanding behaviour by publisher is really important – a supplier than then look at how to inspire the shopper or intercept them on their journey.

As a shopper online I would like retailers to work closer with suppliers to better understand me. The insight I’m seeing from our work online here at Elevaate is something no other tech company is doing. Proud to be a part of it.

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