The other reason more Aussies are buying online

Yet again I find myself starting a blog post with a caveat. Because some of my nearest and dearest are in the sales game.


And to them and all other sales professionals, I apologise in advance. Because of course you’re an exception.

But the truth is, most consumers would prefer not to have to deal with a salesperson if it can be avoided.

Unfortunately, most of us have been burned before. Who hasn’t wandered into a store and come out with much more than you bargained for? Or felt cornered into buying something that they really didn’t want.

Buying more than you bargained for

Research backs this up. Do you know that on average, supermarket shoppers spend at least double what they intended before they walked in to the store?

Of course it’s not the salesperson’s fault (and certainly not in supermarkets) – their very remuneration is based on the most fundamental of business principles – making as much from the transaction as is humanly possible.

It’s just another example of how business and ordinary people don’t mix.

One is trying to spend as little as possible, the other is trying to extract as much as possible out of you.

As one famous mogul has emphasised, it’s nothing personal, it’s just business.

A conflict of interest

The problem is, consumers don’t like being persuaded to increase the bottom line of the business they are dealing with.

This feeling of having been taken for a ride even has a name – “post purchase dissonance”.

On the other hand, online browsing and shopping allows consumers to shop at their own pace, in their own time and without being coerced into spending more than they want to.

This isn’t to say that it’s not possible to up-sell and cross-sell online. Good retail websites will make suggestions as to what “goes with” the item you’re considering, or even what others who bought the item also bought.

Others will offer free delivery once you reach a certain level of expenditure, or throw in a discount or other offer.

This is not so unlike a good shop assistant making similar suggestions.

Putting consumers in control

It’s just that online, the buyer is in control. There is no sales technique or psychology – and it’s oh so easy to click over to a competitor if there is.

It’s yet another reason more and more Australians are shopping online, and yet another reason retailers need to be there when they do.

In addition to being a leading eBusiness educator to the smaller business sector, Craig Reardon is the founder and director of independent web services firm The E Team which was established to address the special website and web marketing needs of SMEs in Melbourne and beyond.


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