I came across an interesting article via The Sydney Morning Herald, written by Pascale Helyar-Moray, founder of online custom jewelry retailer, StyleRocks. In it, she details a recent experience with a customer looking to purchase her product, who had very little knowledge about buying online, and the processes which takes place in doing so. Chances are, this customer is not alone, and while participation in online shopping is growing, consumers are still proceeding with caution.
Australian Government statistics via the 2012 ACMA report show 54% of Australian Internet users aged 14+ participating in online buying, selling, or shopping, a jump of 26% from the previous year, and I’m confident that by the end of 2014, these figures will again have grown significantly. Of those engaged in online shopping activities, the 25-34 and 35-44 ages represented the biggest user groups, with over half of the activity taking place on a computer versus a mobile phone (a statistic likely to reverse in the very near future).
The value of internet commerce in Australia seems to be steadily increasing year on year, and whilst the majority of Australians find the internet useful in their daily lives, there are still strong concerns about potential privacy threats with the misuse of personal data and online fraud, which is perhaps a key in the lack of trust many users still have when stopping online. The graph below represents shopping related activities undertaken online, with product / service research still the most popular activity.
So, as a business owner, it’s important that you take these consumer concerns seriously, and where ever you are collecting personal information, you need be very upfront in how that data will be used or shared. If you are an e-tailer, it’s also crucial that you clearly explain your purchase, delivery and returns procedure, and where possible, consumers will also feel more comfortable being able to speak to someone directly if they have any questions / concerns that aren’t addressed on your website.
As in the article below, providing the opportunity to speak to someone can often mean the difference in an abandoned shopping cart versus a successful sale.
SMH Article: Do Aussies understand e-tailing?