I asked a question on LinkedIn a while back, “What are the deciding factors for women shopping online?

Here are the replies I received….

My question?

I would like the opinions of females on why they shop online, specifically what makes you decide on one site over another if both websites are selling the exact same product at the same price

1) Applications service Leader at Capgemini

The design of the site – it needs to look professional and well maintained, so I can have confidence in the people and business behind the screen.

It needs to be easily navigable. I dont want or need to go through 10 screens to pay for an item. It also needs to be clear what I am paying, including any shipping and sales taxes, and when the item will be delivered.

As with the others above, a stated returns/refunds policy, especially in the case of clothes.

Accurate descriptions of items, including appropriately sized photographs whereever possible – for clothes, gadgets, shoes, jewellery, flowers it’s a must, books less important (to me at least).

A website that doesnt collect unnecessary information about me when I’m trying to buy. I’ve come across some websites that insist on DOBs and at least 2 phone numbers to sell non-age restricted items. This has instantly put me off and I’ve gone elsewhere. Who knows what use my details are going to be used for? Why do I need to put 2 phone numbers in to buy a CD?

2) Executive Director/Manager

I do quite a lot of online shopping. Price and product availability being equal, I decide on one website over another based on:
-There must be a customer service address and phone number listed on the site or I will not buy.
-Reading reviews/reputation – I ask around to see if anyone knows about the site or has used them before.
-Professional look of the site
-Shipping options/pricing/sales tax clearly stated BEFORE purchasing

I hope this helps!

3) Attorney

I shop online whenever I can. If price and product availability are the same the factors that will steer me to one site over another are:
1) Product information. Does one site provide specs like dimension, weight, and other pertinent information? Are there customer reviews and ratings? The more I can find out about a product on a site, the more likely I am to use that site.
2) Shipping costs, options, and return policy. If the site doesn’t tell me how much shipping will be before I put in my credit card payment then I’ll find another site assuming I’m about to be gauged. Ditto if there is no return policy.
3) Reputation. Before buying from a new website I’ll do a websearch and read up on other customers’ experiences.

4) Senior Manager, Online Acquisition at Pacific Sunwear

I agree with both of the above respondents! It comes down to the company’s reputation & customer service/return policy.

Also – check out this great article on FutureNow which speaks to the subtle differences between men & women regarding how they shop on line. It could be that one site’s “feel” is more appealing to me in terms of addressing my needs for how I am shopping for a given product. Interesting reading, and some good links to other great content herein:

5) Information Architect at 352 Media Group

If the product is the same price, I look at shipping next. If shipping is the same, I’ll go with a site I’ve used before (have an account) and had success with. If all that was equal, I can’t really say there is any other deciding factor. Maybe if one is easier to use than the other or a better return policy. Hope that helps…let me know if you have any more questions.

6) Summer Intern at Arthur J. Gallagher

It is important to be able to visualize how the product would look on you as much as possible. This includes things like being able to zoom in on the picture, see measurements, and select colors for the clothes. So, if the product was the same with the same price on both websites, factors like this would come into play. Price is important, so things like discounts or sales deals with perks of buying would help edge me in one direction. Shipping is not that important to me so long as I do not need the clothes urgently, and finally it would be nice to have a phone number listed with an actual live operator available to take you call and questions.

7) Web Developer
Competitive price, product availability, product variety (size, colour, style, etc), delivery service & rates.

Most importantly a website that looks and feels secure. I’ve shopped on many websites and would not pay online with many of those sites because of how bad they looked or functioned. Its important to have a well functioning website that enables easy and secure transactions.

So based on this feedback from a range of female shoppers there seems to be a few factors that stand out.

  1. Women like to research and find out about customer experiences
  2. Women like to read reviews
  3. Women like to know about returns/refunds policy
  4. Women like to know about shipping costs before purchasing
  5. Women like to know there is a live person to speak to in customer service

Look out for my post on how write an effective ecommerce proposal for female shoppers.


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