Trends in eCommerce: Importance of Consumer Behavior and Perceptions
SEMA recently launched its annual Membership Satisfaction survey to engage members about the resources available to them and inquire about the services, news items and topics that they would like to see more regularly. The survey is still open and available to all employees of member companies, but from the responses given so far, some research topics are already rising to the surface.
Consumer online behavior and eCommerce strategies are very popular. Manufacturers, retailers and those along the distribution channels want more information about Internet-related topics and, as a result from the feedback, SEMA will work with members of the industry to provide the content its members have requested.
As highlighted in “Selling Out,” an article from customer-service-centric publication Customer Relationships Management (CRM), some retailers have abandoned the techniques that earned them customers the first time around. Economic conditions are driving customers to become more critical, and merchants might be changing their behavior incorrectly.
Retailers need to understand the current consumer psyche as it evolves within the framework of the economic environment. Not only have disposable incomes decreased as consumers face higher levels of unemployment, tightened credit and budget cuts, but people are discouraged socially from excessive spending, even those capable of staving off economic troubles.
Carl Prindle, CEO of Furniture.com, outlined the hesitations to CRM.
“Consumers are reluctant to spend," he said. "In fact, many feel guilty if they do. They’re being told not to buy. They need some excuse to push them, to do something they’re being told not to do.”
Much of the apprehension is tied to long-term perspectives. Seventy percent of consumers fear the recession will last three years or more. There are solutions to these problems, however.
Technology has enabled a shift in power. Consumers are in more control of their choices than ever before and are seeking products on their terms. In years past, people would rely heavily on local sources—close friends, newspapers—for information. Now they are more empowered and practically forced by economic conditions to use every resource available to understand their complete range of choices.
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