At the end of the last century, online shopping was already starting to catch people’s attention, and was slowly attracting consumers to use it as a channel, primarily because of it’s ease in completing purchases (i.e. not needing to step out of the home) and also in providing information as, even then, some sites already provided extensive information (Gay 1999, Gehrt et al 2007). But we are well into the first decade of the 21st century, and since then times have changed and certainly, consumers’ motivations, as evidenced in this literature review and the results of the research project, have changed..
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The use of the online channel for shopping varies greatly by country with the UK and the US ranking high up in the list with greatest ratio of online shoppers among Internet users, in addition to also having a large penetration of users for Internet access (Bhatti 2006). In the UK, Internet access among households has increased from 34% in 2000 to 54% in 2004, while Internet access for adults increased from 40% in 2000 to 64% in 2005 (Datamonitor 2006).
The project had two key questions to focus on and this acted as a guide to the research design and methodology. The two key research questions in my project were:
* What are the key consumer motivations for online shopping and how are these impacting the development of the online channel? This question focused on the key drivers acting as impetus for consumers to pursue online shopping, and how these drivers were impacting the online channel as an alternative channel for making purchases.
* What are the emerging trends for online shopping, and how will the online shopping channel develop? As online shopping continues to increase, both organisations and consumers are expected to be better-placed with having a good understanding of where online shopping trends seem to be directed at.
The project sought to understand the consumer motivations for choosing online shopping as an alternative channel or, for some consumers, their main channel for shopping particular items. This part of the project was based on determining what consumers have stated as their key motivation factors through secondary research. This was supported by primary research by surveying and interviewing consumers on their motivational factors. The objective was to list out the key motivational factors consumers have for online shopping.
In addition to understanding consumer motivation, this project also sought, as an objective, to understand the emerging trends in online shopping, and establish a viewpoint on where the online channel was expected to move to.
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