The growth of the internet as a secure shopping channel has developed since 1994, with the first sales of Sting album ‘Ten Summoner’s Tales’. Wine, chocolates and flowers soon followed and were among the pioneering retail categories which fueled the growth of online shopping. Researchers found that having products that are appropriate for e-commerce was a key indicator of Internet success. Many of these products did well as they are generic products which shoppers didn’t need to touch and feel in order to buy. But also importantly in the early days there were few shoppers online and they were from a narrow segment: affluent, male, 30+. Online shopping has come along way since these early days and -in the UK- accounts for significant percents (depending on product category as percentages can vary).
As the revenues from online sales continued to grow significantly researchers identified different types of online shoppers, Rohm & Swaninathan identified four categories and named them “convenience shoppers, variety seekers, balanced buyers, and store-oriented shoppers”. They focused on shopping motivations and found that the variety of products available and the perceived convenience of the buying online experience were significant motivating factors. This was different for offline shoppers, who were more motivated by time saving and recreational motives.