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Buyer decision process when purchasing online

Updated on May 21, 2013
Google search results
Google search results

Online retailers chosen

For evaluating the buyer decision process,online retailers chosen for this purpose are Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, Charlotte Russe and Felicee.

All these retailers are present online and offer trendy clothes for women. These have been selected based on the positive word of mouth from my friends who shop online. Forever 21 and Felicee have been chosen after searching for “online shopping clothing stores for women” on search engine Google.

The product chosen for evaluation is women’s tops and all the four retailers will be compared on this clothing item.

Comparison of prices
Comparison of prices

Comparing product quality & price

Product quality is of utmost importance to consumers when making purchases especially ladies when purchasing clothing items.

All 4 of the retailers are providing items of superior quality.

When the tops are compared on prices, the lowest is offered by Forever 21 of around $13 followed by Felicee of around $18.

Urban outfitters offers the most expensive tees among all.

Detailed information provided by Felicee
Detailed information provided by Felicee

Level of information provided

Level of information provided to the customers online satisfies them as they are not physically present to inquire about every detail on the spot.Hence,this factor plays a major role in determining the purchase decision.

The information provided on the website includes product description, measurements, sizes, colour, product code, availability in stores etc.

Felicee provides the most level of information with least information provided by Charlotte Russe. Felicee even provides the delivery related information regarding the items.

Heavy suggestive selling used by Felicee
Heavy suggestive selling used by Felicee

Suggestive selling

It is a technique used by sale persons to find out the customer needs and thereafter showing them recommended items based on their needs(Lewis,2012).

The retailers should not focus only on the product which the customer is there to buy but sharp sale persons can figure out the needs of the customers by engaging them in talk and then showing them targeted items. It will help to increase sales for retailers and will be an add-on for them.

The online retailers, all four of them, are using the technique of suggestive selling in some way or the other.

Forever 21 recommends the popular picks to its target customers while Urban Outfitters suggests other items similar to the one customer is viewing, hence hooking on to the customers by showing more designs and colours.

Suggestive selling has been used heavily by Felicee on its website.

Appealing product images
Appealing product images

Website features

The essential features which should be part of a website are :-

  • Crucial business information
  • Contact information
  • FAQ
  • Social media integration
  • Security
  • Appealing product images

The essential features of a website are integrated by all retailers. All of them provide crucial business information regarding the clothes and accessories they offer mentioning all required details of price, description, availability and colours etc.

As etailers need good product shots to appeal to customers, all of them provide this and how customers can contact them or complain. Social media has become a crucial part of marketing and hence social platforms such as facebook,twitter,youtube have been integrated into the website to improve SEOs and to increase business presence on the social web.

Also it is necessary feature of websites that it is secured with SSL certificates.

Felicee and Forever 21 are secured with SSL certificate.
Felicee and Forever 21 are secured with SSL certificate.

Logical roadmap of websites

All of the retailers have aesthetically pleasing design of websites. The websites have logical road map to guide the customers around and to provide them a good experience. The layout of the web pages is good with simple with few similar typefaces.

The target market for all these retailers are young women hence motion graphics and animations have been used appropriately to cater to the needs of the target audience.

Easy to the eyes websites
Easy to the eyes websites
Easily navigatable website of Felicee
Easily navigatable website of Felicee

Ease of website use

A website is useless for retailers if customers cannot navigate or use it easily.

Easy to understand and logical names have been used be e-tailers on their websites like FAQ, About etc. Using difficult names can turn off the customers when they will not be able to find the required information.

Navigation strategy of all these 4 retailers is to showcase their collections and influence the customer to make product purchases.

Navigation strategy of both the retailers is to lead to purchase and for that purpose “Add to Bag” prominently displays the call to action.Also users prefer websites which are de-cluttered.Cluttered websites make it difficult for users to find the information they are looking for and the path to complete their purchase.

Simple layouts used by Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe make it easier for customers to find what they are looking for and to make the purchase.

Call to Action button prominently displayed
Call to Action button prominently displayed

Closing of sale

All the ecommerce website’s ultimate goal is to make a sale. Strategies which can help to close sale online are

  • Making it all convenient

Making it all attractive and convenient for customers online instead of they battling the traffic to mall and making a purchase. Make the deal attractive that the customer wants to click Add to Cart button.

  • Offer shipping options

Offer customers options of getting the items fast.People want their items to reach them quickly and are willing to pay extra for that. Offering free shipping on items at a certain amount leads to customers making more purchases.

  • Offer guarantees

Offering guarantees satisfies the customers.Shipping guarantees,product return guarantees can be offered and these benefits should be highlighted on the website to assure the customers.

  • Keeping checkout process simple

Assure the customer at every step of the check-out process that he/she is in the right page and give buyers to change the quantities, sizes or items without having to go back out of the check-out and start once all over again.

  • Re-assure the customer at checkout

Assure the customers they are on a secure website and their payments and details provided to the company are safe with them.

All the four retailers have used closing strategies on their website. Urban outfitters and Felicee provide various shipping options,return policy and different payment methods.

Combination of methods used by Forever 21
Combination of methods used by Forever 21

Closing of sale by Forever 21

Forever 21 uses various methods to close the sale on its website. It assures the customers by providing satisfaction guarantees,accepting various payment methods thus offering convenience to buyers.

It also provides gift cards when buyers are unable to make a decision regarding what to purchase for a dear one. Its easy return policy encourages buyers to make the purchase and providing free shipping on orders above $50 urges the customers to make more purchases.


Purchasing online

Which of these is most important factor to you when making a purchase online ??

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