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Consumer Behavior towards online shopping

Internet technology has revolutionized the commerce industry in the manner producers and consumers are increasingly using the internet to sell and buy products and services.  Companies are adopting e-commerce, which is the buying and selling of products and services using the internet because of the need to stay competitive in the ever changing marketing environment (Kanupriya & Kaur, 2016). Therefore, any business that wants to stay relevant in an industry must embrace innovation, which is online shopping. It is important, therefore, to learn consumer behavior towards online shopping because it enables marketers to tailor their products and services towards a specific target group. Consumer behavior towards online shopping is influenced by personal, psychological, social and cultural characteristics.

Personal characteristics influence consumer behavior because consumers make personal decisions before buying items through the internet. Personal characteristics of the consumer include; gender, income level occupation, level of education and lifestyle. Gender; Kanupriya  & Kaur (2016) show that there is relationship between gender and making online buying decisions. At the advent of online shopping, more men used online platforms for shopping, but women remained to the traditional physical shopping stores. In the contemporary world, however, more women are online and they also embracing online shopping. Furthermore, Lakshmi (2016) found that the gender gap in online shopping has significantly closed.

Income level influences consumer behavior towards online shopping. The higher the income, the more likely a consumer will use online platforms for shopping without placing so much emphasis on price. On the other hand, the lower the income of an individual, the less likely for a consumer to use online shopping platforms. A person within the lower income bracket may not embrace online shopping because he or she wants physical interaction that provides room for bargaining. Online companies should use the income level characteristics to tailor their products and services to meet the preferences of both high and low income individuals (Kanupriya & Kaur, 2016). This includes the use of discounts to allow low income individuals to use online shopping platforms.  Furthermore, education level influences consumer behavior towards online shopping. Those with higher education level are more likely to buy things online that those with low education level. This is because of the differences in technical skills for using the internet.

Consumer behavior towards online shopping is also influenced by vendor characteristics; security of transactions and content for privacy. Lakshmi (2016) show that vendor characteristics are crucial for influencing consumer behavior, that is, they determine if the consumer will use the online platform. Security of transactions; online transactions should be secure to establish trust in the online retailer. Consumers can be discouraged from using online platforms because of the unavailability of security provisions. For instance, when a potential customer clicks on a website link provided on social media and the link directs him or her to a potential malware that can harm the computer or lead to loss of personal details, such a potential customer cannot click on the link again. The company would have lost a promising customer (Kanupriya & Kaur, 2016). The privacy policy influences consumer behavior in the manner that consumers want their personal information to stay private.  It is, therefore, important for online companies to install security functionalities in their websites.

Kanupriya & Kaur (2016) state that psychological factors influence consumer behavior towards online shopping. Psychology refers to the study of the behavior and mind and of individuals. An individual’s behavior can be motivated by emotions or attitude towards something. In the case of online shopping, much of the decisions are emotional. For instance, Charumathi & Rani (2017) state that consumers make buying decisions based on emotions, then they justify their behavior using logic. The marketers have learned the use of emotions in online marketing and have tailored advertisements to appeal to people’s emotions. Psychological factors also involve consumer motivation and perception. Motivation influences people if they should buy something online or look for it anywhere else in physical stores. Perception, which is the way a person views the world, influences consumers in making online buying decisions.  The use of perception in online shopping is consistent with Lakshmi (2016)’s study where the consumer’s perception of the seller starts with the website design and quality of the product. Therefore, the attitude of consumers towards an online shopping platform is critical for consumer behavior.

Social factors influence consumer behavior towards online shopping in the manner that people tend to do things depending on their social group. Online consumers are influenced by online social groups, for example, social media groups (Kanupriya & Kaur, 2016). If a person is on social media, there are high chances of buying items online. Today, companies advertise their products on social media, because of the presence of potential consumers online.  Physical interactions also have an influence on consumer behavior. For instance, family shapes an individual’s perspective towards online shopping. If an individual comes from a family that uses online platforms for shopping, then there are high chances that the individual will also use online platforms for shopping.

Culture; this is a certain group’s way of doing things. Some individuals are accustomed to doing things in a particular way such that it is difficult to break the culture. Different socioeconomic groups have different cultures (Lakshmi, 2016). For instance, online shopping is high among people from high socioeconomic status than those from low socioeconomic status. Other factors that influence consumer behavior include customer loyalty. Businesses have realized that customer loyalty is associated with the brand. Therefore, developing a powerful brand is essential in maintaining customer loyalty. For example, Amazon established itself as the largest online retail store, which offers discounted products on their online platform. Most importantly, trust is critical among online customers; a few successful transactions build trust, which is greatly influences consumer behavior (Kanupriya & Kaur, 2016). Customer experience with the online business determines their behavior in future purchases. This means that an online platform should be secure and convenient to use.

In summary, the factors that influence consumer behavior towards online shopping can be categorized into personal, psychological, social, and cultural characteristics. Personal characteristics refer to an individual’s perception towards online shopping. For instance, some individuals perceive online shopping as convenient to their needs while others perceive online shopping as expensive and time consuming. Psychological factors are associated with people’s attitudes and emotions at a given time. Social factors refer to the reference group associated with an individual. If the group uses online shopping, an individual will also use online platforms for shopping. Online businesses, therefore, should design online shopping platforms in the manner that they can attract and retain customers. The vendor characteristics that should be adopted include safe and secure transactions, privacy, and appeal to customer’s tastes and preferences.

References

Charumathi, D., & Rani, S. S. (2017). An Empirical Study On Consumers Buying Behaviour Towards Online Shopping. Clear International Journal Of Research In Commerce & Management, 8(10), 9-11.

Kanupriya, R., & Kaur, A. (2016). A study of Behavior of Consumers Towards Online Shopping. Orbit-Biz-Dictum, 1(1), 43-55.

Lakshmi. S. (2016). Consumer Buying Behavior Towards Online Shopping. International Journal of Research. Granthaalayah, Vol. 4, No. 8:  60-65

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