64 million at Amazon

get the range and variety right

This is the fourth of five thoughts dealing with the reasons why some e-commerce sites are more successful than others. Research suggests that consumers shop online because of range, convenience, capacity to compare prices, and the price itself (yes, price is not in the top three attractions), among other less significant issues. But why one online shop and not another?

Here are some numbers worth contemplating:

  • Wallmart (the world’s biggest retailer) has an inventory of 14 million products
  • Amazon (the world’s fourth largest retailer) has an inventory of 64 million products

These numbers, and in particular the number relating to Amazon, highlight the importance of inventory. Research consistently suggests that the two primary reasons for shopping online are:

  • Range
  • Convenience

Research has found that online shoppers expect to find what they want, and are not inclined to revisit a site that does not have a desired product or is out of stock. Offline shoppers are arguably more intolerant if a site lacks the product or variety they are looking for.

Range is also a component of convenience. A site that has what consumers want can be convenient. A site that does not have what the shopper wants is clearly inconvenient.

Almost every survey undertaken on the subject of online shopping highlights the importance of range and variety. In addition, a number of studies in Australia have found that along with poor delivery times, range (or the lack of it) is the main reason given for local shoppers turning to overseas online shops. Contrary to popular belief, range is a more important factor than price.

Indeed, price matters little if the shopper cannot find the product they want when they want it.

It is essential to make shopping online as easy and reliable as possible – because an alternative is all too easy to access when a consumer is online.

In 2018, get the range and variety right

Sources of core statistics – Sage Pay, Brilliance, Financial Review, Smile.io, e-consultancy, Towerd@ta, Zendesk, CXL, Smart Insights, INC, E-Commerce, UpStream Commerce, Quors, Pew Research, Shopping Trends

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