Spending weeks shopping around for the right product may be a pointless waste of time, a study has shown as it revealed people most often go back to the first item they saw.
It makes little difference whether online customers take an hour or a month to find what they want, researchers said. Most people buy something they find within one online session or spend weeks combing sites only to end up buying the kind of product they first saw.
Even if a customer spends 30 days researching every aspect of a product from the price to performance, they more often than not eventually choose the one they spotted when they started to look.
The findings, reported in the specialist journal Marketing Science, suggest that most people know what they want even before they search.
Researchers from Holland, Hong Kong and the US examined 1,000 sales of digital cameras from three of the largest international online retailers – Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart.
They examined the purchasing and browsing history of the buyers across a three-month period, detailing what they had looked at and for how long for before buying a camera.
Some bought a camera almost as soon as they went online, suggesting they either knew what they wanted or liked what they saw within minutes of logging on. In total, around 25 per cent of the cameras were bought after just one online session.
A further 40 per cent of buyers only looked at one particular brand before deciding which one to buy.
The average length of time for a purchase was 15 days after the first search and it involved six different online sessions during that time.
But some searched for up to 30 days, going to various sites and looking at hundreds of choices before making their minds up.
Bart Bronnenberg, a researcher from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, said: “What surprised us was that consumers don’t explore anywhere close to full range of products and attributes in the category.
“The final product they purchase is very close in terms of the attributes to the products they discovered on the first day.
“This suggests that consumers have a rough idea of the quality and type of features they want as they begin search.
“The search helps them merely to refine the right combination of features within the narrow range of features of the products they found on the first day.”
News Source TelegraphNews