It is important for you to understand how people are using the Internet for shopping and sourcing products and services. Manufacturers are using the Internet to source for products and services as well, and it is vital for your company to develop your web site so that it sells your abilities and processes effectively.
A recent study by Harris Interactive (HI), a leading Internet market research firm, identified six types of online shoppers. This study will help you identify how Internet users are viewing the Web and, more importantly, how they are using it.
E-Bivalent Newbies. These shoppers are very new to the Internet and are least interested in e-commerce. They tend to be older and spend little time online. This group makes up about 5% of Internet users.
Time-Sensitive Materialists. This group makes up about 17% of Internet shoppers and uses the Internet for convenience and to save time.
Clicks and Mortar. This is the largest category of Internet shoppers. These shoppers research products and pricing online but purchase offline as they are worried about privacy and security.
Hooked, Online and Single. This category makes up approximately 16% of online shoppers. This group of individuals uses the Internet to shop, bank, invest, play games and download software. This group is generally comprised of young, single, early-adopting, high-earning males.
Hunter-Gatherers. This group makes up 1 out of 5 Internet shoppers and are likely to be in their 30's, married with children and frequent the Internet to price compare.
Brand Loyalists. This final group also comprises 1 out of every 5 Internet shoppers. These loyalists visit and purchase/source through sites that are known and trusted merchants. This group is most satisfied with e-commerce, and they spend the most dollars online.
Obviously, all manufacturers do not fit into the same categories listed above. They fit in based on how long they have been using the "Net, how much they use it and, quite frankly, how much they use the "Net for personal use. I would challenge each of you to know where your visitors fit in and talk to manufacturers that you work with so you can effectively build your Internet presence for them.