Online or Offline – Which Do Shoppers Prefer?

With the rise in popularity of online shopping over the last 20 years, many people have switched from shopping on the high street to online in an attempt to save money and time. Whilst there has been a noticeable shift in buying decisions and trends, there are still many people who prefer to shop on the high street so they can physically see the product they are buying.

The number of research tools has certainly given customers the edge when looking for the best price available. Research recently undertaken shows that customers with smartphones make the most of the apps and review websites available to see what people are saying about the product and where they can buy it from.

What do the stats say?

64 per cent of customers looking to buy electronics use their smartphones to compare prices and read reviews, whilst 57 per cent used their smartphones when buying packaged goods and 54 per cent when looking for clothing and fashion related items.

What this means for the online businesses is that even when customers are on the high street they still have the opportunity to attract them. Being present on review websites and being visible on Google, Bing and Yahoo will help them attract customers to their websites.

Online Shopping

Combine online and offline tools

It seems like customers no longer have to make a choice between online and offline because there are ways to utilise both outlets to help them find the best deal. Whether customers research online before buying or make the most of the various apps and QR readers, there are plenty of ways for customers to combine online and offline tools.

62 per cent of customers buying high ticket items (such as white goods, televisions etc.) will research the item in-store before buying. These statistics obviously don’t make it easy for business owners on the high street and online to keep customers loyal due to the amount of research that is conducted, as customers may change their mind at any time.

What influences a customers’ buying decision?

Whilst customers have different reasons for choosing one product over another, there are some overriding factors that are the most popular amongst customers. 56% of people surveyed said that the quality of the product was the most important, 49% said that free shipping was important and over a third of people said that the ability to return products, customer reviews and how the product looks was important.

These are statistics that companies both on the high street and online should take note of and ensure that they are ticking the necessary boxes when it comes to customers choosing the perfect product.

Karl Bantleman is an expert retail blogger that often writes for, a leading retailer of gifts for men, including Fathers Day gifts and more.

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