Results from a recent survey on the shopping habits of 18-44 year olds found that most look at product reviews online as an early step in the decisions marking process, and Amazon is often the website of choice for consumers seeking both product information and reviews. On Amazon, consumers can access a wealth of information including product specifications, side by side comparisons, pricing and reviews (sometimes numbering in the thousands) as well as answers to questions already posed by other consumers.
However, the research suggests that many of these consumers are using Amazon only as a tool for product research, and then visiting traditional retail outlets to purchase, rather than buying from the online retailer. This is motivated by the desire to touch, see and test products for themselves prior to purchase – something only traditional retailers can offer.
Retailers can encourage in-store purchase by offering a wide variety of display products, and having knowledgeable sales staff on hand to guide consumers through a product trial, address new questions that crop up, and help them wade through the sometimes overwhelming amount of available information to ensure they are choosing the best product for their needs.