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The Drive to Buy: The Influences of Online Shopping

Online shopping has accelerated tremendously in recent years. Thanks in part to the advancement in smartphones, people have more ways to get the things they need, when they need them. The novelty of the brick-and-mortar store is wearing off, and customers want their products at the best possible price. Leaders in the space like Amazon dominate because they know exactly how to connect with their customers while offering a wide variety of products at great prices. But what else influences online shoppers to make a purchase?

Fast, Reliable Shipping

When you’re shopping online, nothing’s worse than filling up your cart with products you love and having to wait up to a week or longer to get them. We live in a world where convenience rules and we’ve grown to have a certain standard in how long something should take. Because of this, ecommerce businesses need to make sure they have their logistics optimized to guarantee their products will be delivered quickly and on-time. Nothing’s worse than paying for online shipping and not getting it until a few days later. Poor shipping processes can easily drive customers away. All it takes is one negative experience and your likelihood of a repeat customer has diminished. Amazon has paved the way with its two-day shipping and highly-regarded shipping processes. Many companies also offer free or discounted shipping depending on the order amount.


One of the luxuries that shopping in-store provides is the ability to try on products while you’re there to save yourself the trouble of going back and exchanging sizes. You also get to interact with the product and get a feel for the fabric, fit, and any imperfections before making the purchase. When shopping online, it can be hard to properly gauge the size of a product or if it is a clothing product, whether or not the size chart is correct. If the product a customer purchase online turns out not to be what we expected, then customers need to know that their returns will be handled quickly. For this reason, many companies will offer free returns to help offset the cost and inconvenience.


Reviews are one of the biggest influences for a customer. Spiegel Research Center reports that 95% of customers read reviews before making a purchase. They especially become important for higher-priced or “risker” items. Consistent negative reviews and your potential customer is onto the next product. Reviews offer a unique perspective onto the product and how it’s actually perceived. Word of mouth marketing is one of the most powerful ways we can influence someone and reviews can be the deciding factor in making that purchasing decision.

High-Quality Images

You want your customer to feel confident in the purchase they’re making and that starts with providing for the multiple, high-quality product images. Nothing’s worse than seeing a product online that you’re interested in yet only has two or three pictures. A well-lit, high-quality photo will show your customer all angles of the product and help mitigate buyer’s remorse. Just as important are detailed product descriptions. The best product copy is the ones that clearly define the benefits of the product in your life as well as any important features and details. The more information you arm your customer with, the more confident they will feel when making their purchase.

As online shopping grows, so do the number of opportunities to get your customer to purchase from your brand and stay loyal. Understanding common influences can help your brand build a foundation that will encourage lifelong, loyal customers.

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