Consumer Beliefs and Online Shopping

This research article studied the effect of consumer beliefs on online purchase behavior. As the article states, “the three most common beliefs that consumers have about shopping online are that it saves time, saves money and helps find products that best match needs.” However this is not apparent to everyone. As shopping online is increasingly becoming more and more popular it is important for these online retailers to figure out who their customers are, in particular what their beliefs are and what they want out of their online shopping experience. This study investigates the characteristics of online shoppers such as their income, education level, and age, effects their online shopping beliefs. This article also discusses the “tyranny of choice” paradox, when it comes to consumers desire to have a wide selection of products vs. the time it takes to examine all the options.

So who are these people? Online shoppers who believe that e-commerce “saves time” tend to be older, with higher incomes, more educated, and use the internet more often than those looking for “the best product fit.” People who believe that e-commerce offers both have a tendency to research products prior to making a purchase and like having many choices while shopping (they are least effected by the “tyranny of choice” paradox). This is because they are the most confident about their purchases and not as overwhelmed by the amount of information available online.


Punj, G. (August 01, 2011). Effect of Consumer Beliefs on Online Purchase Behavior: The Influence of Demographic Characteristics and Consumption Values. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 25, 3, 134-144.


Posted on July 25, 2011, in Discussion Leader. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. More and more people are using online shopping for many benefits. I also do online shopping to save my time and money. Especially, when I buy textbooks I use Amazon to purchase books becuase even with shipping cost I save money when school textbooks cost over hundred dollars. Moreover, when people are looking for rare products they use online shopping to own the product. However, there are many benefits but there are also many negative affects that people perceive. I believe many people have experienced when product is different from the picture or wrong product has arrived to one’s house; it is frustrating to return the products when it takes more than two weeks to recieve the right product. It might take one’s time but there are more positive things from online shopping. The overwhelmed information from the online websites may confuse consumers but is is the most popular website becuase it definately saves the ‘time’ for everyone.

  2. I use online shopping also but not as frequent as going to the mall or physically going somewhere to buy something. I don’t really like online shopping because I just don’t trust it yet. I’ve been hacked before and I’ve been charged more etc. Yes, even cashiers do make those mistakes too but I feel like it’s easier to handle. For example, once I bought something and they made two transactions of one purchase. I had to call customer service and not only that I was put on hold for quite awhile. Finally, they picked up and I had told them about the 2 charges they put on my card they said the only way to fix it was to return the package once received! So I had to wait until the package came (btw it took like a month) then I had to go to the post office and send it back, unbelievable! If I had bought this at a store they would have fixed it right then and there.

    I also do not believe it saves you money. Why? This probably doesn’t apply to everyone but I hate shipping charges. Shipping charges, for one, is more costly than buying it in person. Second, most online stores have some kind of promotion saying if you buy more than a certain amount then you will get free shipping. So, I know that I will try to buy that amount to get free shipping which leads me to buy more than what I need or just waste my money on unnecessary things. Stupid of me, but it’s because I think shipping is a waste of money.

  3. I often use online shopping but I mostly search products before I go to mall to purchase something rather than buying online. Based on my experience, I think online shopping saves time but it doesn’t save money. There are shipping and handling fee, and some shopping websites charge service fee and tax. If I want to exchange and return due to change my mind, I have to pay additional handling fee. Online stores tempt customers to buy more than they want so that the customers don’t have to pay shipping fee. I really don’t like their sales gimmick so I use promotion period that the company offers free shipping event.However, I think it’s true online shopping saves my time. I usually look around and compare each store in the mall before buying something, but online stores allow me to search quickly what I want than physically looking around.

  4. I found your presentation very interesting because it made me think about how people today use online shopping a lot more than going out to stores to make purchases. The convenience of being able to shop from home appeals most to me. I can find almost anything I want online. The only complaint I have is shipping. Shipping and handling costs plus the wait for the shipment to arrive kills the deal for me. Amazon offers a service called Amazon Prime for students and it’s free 2 day shipping, so anything that’s eligible for Prime shipping is the best for me. I save so much money on textbooks and electronics online compared of going to the store. Shopping online has made a huge impact on malls and other retailers because of the convenience.

  5. I found the online shopping presentation highly informative as I sometimes do shop online. The main issue I find with it is that sometimes the recommendation systems are fairly fickle. At times, I appreciate finding similar books and songs which align with my tastes. However, as I mentioned in the discussion group, I will sometimes use Amazon or some other e-commerce site to just look up a product once and the recommendation system will presume I want many similar products after that. It is fairly frustrating when the system cannot tell whether you are genuinely interested in finding similar products or if you are doing a one-time search.

  6. Your topic is really interesting. I believe it’s true that people who hold the belief that shopping online saves time tend to be more educated, have higher income and older. As a student, I go shopping online sometimes, and I do it mostly because the internet helps me find the products that best match my needs. Also, an interesting aspect I’ve found is that some of my friends(also students/younger people), they may find something they want in stores or malls, but instead of buying it, they choose to purchase online later because, first, they know that they can definitely find the exact same product online; and second, it could be cheaper. So in this case, they are doing it in terms of saving money, but it sure does not save time.

    So it’s very important for the company to know what type of clients are buying their products, and in what ways they want to buy them; therefore can they design a best marketing strategy to approach these customers.

  7. I would consider myself an avid online shopper. There is something about the comfort of sitting in my own home while shopping that I enjoy. Rather than having to walk around searching for what I am looking for and standing in line to buy it, I can just browse through various websites and “add” it to my cart. When it comes to buying text books, I only get mine from Amazon. They are generally half the price and I have an account where I get free 2-day shipping.

    As for buying other items (not on Amazon), I dislike having to pay for shipping and handling. I also dislike having to wait for the items to be shipped, especially if it is something I want/need immediately. One of the largest downfalls in online shopping is being ‘deceived’ by the product. Sometimes it is difficult to see what the product really looks like through a picture.

  8. Online consumerism is in a way the “shopping of the future.” Similar to digital media and education, I don’t believe our society has fully adopted this new way of shopping nor do I believe everyone is comfortable with using it. Shopping online provides customers with a much faster, more efficient way of shopping because they don’t have to physically be in a store. Shoppers are able to use ‘search’ boxes on store websites to find the specific product they are looking for and they can look at more items with just the flip of a page.

    Before shopping malls became popular people would use catalogs and order the items or clothes they needed from there. Shopping online is actually very similar to ordering from a catalog except everything is online versus in a catalog. Shopping online opens the door for those smaller companies and stores to make a profit because they have made it easy for consumers to find and purchase their products. In the past only the very big companies and department stores were widely used through catalogs such as JC Penny and the Bon Marche. I do agree that the tyranny of choice paradox is relevant because often online shopping can seem overwhelming but for those who know what they are looking for and want alot of options to find it, online shopping is a much more efficient way of shopping.

  9. Amy, I thought you did an excellent job with your presentation, and was happy I got the opportunity to hear it! It was very interesting learning about how many of the different online grocery stores failed in the beginning and that so few are still around. I think, as we discussed, it might have just been timing when it came to the system. I know you talked about in your presentation that when the research was done it was difficult for users to load all the pictures at once and it took a very long time to get the sites to load. As time goes on, I personally agree with you, when it comes to definite growth in the market and that more and more people will continue to invest in online grocery shopping.

    I know personally that I have already used Amazon Fresh and thought that it was excellent. Amazon Fresh delivered with no charge and even allowed me to keep the crates and I found all the food to be really good. I think just like 20 years ago people had a hard time imaging doing a lot of their clothing shopping online, people will look back on 2011 and not be able to conceive us going to a store to pick up all our groceries.

  10. I don’t do online shopping a lot. I do buy books online, and sometime I buy some stuff from China online (Something you can’t always get here.). But personally, I don’t trust online shopping as much. I would like to touch the stuff, to see it in person. A lot of people would say it is not necessary, by just looking at other people’s common, people can easily figure out is that product the one we want or not. I think that is true, and that is been used on my online book shopping. But still, I think we are really easy to be tricked online, especially on clothes and stuff like that. I have a friend who did online clothes shopping, but the store send her the wrong clothes. So she ends up with going to the store anyway. We cannot be so sure about the quality about one object online. We need always be prepared to get something that is way off our imagination. I would like to try more online shopping, to discover the good thing of it (save time, etc.). But I also think we can find fun in real shopping, such as walking around and you can lose weight! :)

  1. Pingback: week 6 – Monday (25 July 2011) « COM300: Basic Concepts of New Media

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