Daily Telegraph: A record number of Britons, fed up with the crush, bustle and hassle of the high street, will do their Christmas shopping online this month, according to new figures. Internet stores are expected to take at least £5 billion, a rise of 45 per cent on last year. The growth has been fuelled by cheaper prices, the spread of fast broadband connections and greater confidence about shopping online.
Too true. While I live in The Netherlands, much of the Christmas gift-purchasing in my household will be for family and friends in the UK.
So a favoured shopping destination for us is the Amazon UK website. There, we can find nearly every gift we have in mind - usually researched physically by looking at actual items in bricks-and-mortar shops ands then buying them online for all the reasons the Telegraph says.
This is especially the case with books, movie DVDs and music CDs. Why am I going to buy books from a local bookstore here in Amsterdam, or in the UK when I travel there, and pay the sticker price (which for English-language books here usually has a stiff markup, sometimes up to 100 percent, when the price is quoted in euro) when I can buy the same books on Amazon for at least 30 percent off the sticker price, and often discounted much more? And if I have the purchases delivered to a UK address, there is no delivery charge.
That's the key, in fact - researching your planned purchases offline, and then making the actual purchases online. Price is a big influencing factor, as is convenience.
But for me, it mostly comes down to trust in the online place I'm buying from. That trust goes far beyond just the feeling of confidence you need to have that an online retailer will safeguard your personal and financial data.
As an Amazon user for some 10 years now, my trust is in their ability to simply deliver on their mission "To be Earth's most customer-centric company" (and I've yet to experience anything that damages this trust).
That works for me and thousands of other shoppers.
A very interesting and evolutionary development at Amazon looks like it will take trust to a new level - customer-editable product information in the form of "ProductWiki."
This will enable you to read what others shoppers say in describing a product - not just the official commentary from a product manufacturer - as well as contribute your own description. It's a beta service and it will be interesting to see how it actually develops and when it rolls out.
More power to the customer!