Everyone knows about the Web. The trick is getting people to buy.
A new riddle confronts multichannel marketers: Why is it that even consumers who are fully aware of the benefits of shopping online still fail to do so? Why does a person wait patiently in line while his grocery store clerk completes a price check on the mystery vegetable being bought by the person ahead in line-when he could have his groceries delivered to his home? Why does he continue to buy and write checks and buy and lick stamps to mail bills-when he could use free bill paying services from an online bank? The answer to unlocking this second wave of consumers lies not in redesigning the online value proposition or advertising more, but in resolving the mysteries that percolate at the intersection of good marketing and consumer behavioral psychology.
Consider the consumer who goes grocery shopping when she runs out of milk. That pattern doesn't translate to an online environment because she would need to schedule grocery deliveries well ahead of time. Likewise, to sign on to and pay bills through an online bank, she must write letters to her employer and utility companies to transfer her direct payroll deposit and utility payments, respectively. Does the consumer really want to go through these hassles, even if the online bank chips in a $50 bonus and the online grocery store offers five free heads of lettuce? These consumers don't seem to be attracted by the near-term benefits of buying online. So then what is the trick?
Battling Behavioral Bottlenecks
We believe the solution can be found in the powerful notion of tactical accelerators, which focus on making it easier for consumers to change their specific behavior. Behavioral bottlenecks can occur at different stages of the consumer life cycle, depending on the product or service category and shopping context. For example, consumers may know about Amazon's products and services, but, each time a book-buying occasion arises, some will still drive to the Borders store five miles away. These consumers have stopped at the boundary between "awareness" and "visit." Other consumers may sign on to an online grocery site, but give up when they discover, much to their dismay, that creating their first shopping...
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