Catch ’em while they’re surfing Featured

9:46am EDT July 22, 2002

Sending a serious signal to online businesses and countering conventional wisdom, 25 percent of experienced Internet users said that banner advertising drove them to shop online, according to a nationwide survey of nearly 1,500 experienced Internet users by Andersen Consulting.

The response to banner ads beat out newspapers or magazines ads [14 percent], television commercials [11 percent], radio spots [4 percent] and billboards [4 percent], Andersen Consulting reported.

While most Web site banner ads are price-oriented, less than half of experienced Web users cite price as the primary factor driving their Web purchases, according to the survey. Instead, consumers rank convenience, time savings and site security as more meaningful factors in driving their online shopping.

“Promoting rock-bottom prices won’t ensure online purchases or repeat business. Savvy Net consumers consider the full shopping experience — from first click to home delivery,” says Mary Tolan, Andersen Consulting’s managing partner, retail. “Consumers want to be able to return merchandise, and they don’t like paying for delivery, which suggests a new set of marketing messages. E-tailers can choose to promote themselves to the death over decreasing prices, or they can deliver holistic services that provide real value to consumers and generate real profits.”

Survey respondents favored sites that offer good value; provide ease of use and convenience; have merchandise in stock and provide quick delivery; and offer variety and an assortment of products.

The survey also identified factors which deter online purchases. Beyond the often-mentioned concerns of privacy and security, Internet users who have not bought online rated the following as extremely influential reasons for shunning e-commerce:

  • 46 percent have a concern over returning unwanted goods.

  • 44 percent enjoy the traditional brick and mortar shopping experience.

  • 42 percent say Web sites require too much information for purchases.

  • 41 percent do not want to pay for delivery.

“E-tailers are judged by their entire capability rather than just a cool Web site or a slick ad campaign,” Tolan said. “Service still matters, whether you are a ‘click and mortar’ or traditional retailer.

“The magic is what happens after a sale is recorded: Having the right stock, the ability to ship in real time and being able to provide post-purchase support will determine online survival.”