With the development of new technological tools and platforms, offline and online commerce ecosystems are slowly merging to create a new shopping experience for consumers. With the emergence of local deals sites, consumers are more likely to shop online especially for gifts.
The convergence of online and offline shopping isn't exactly new: up to now, people have been using their mobile device to shop in physical stores in order to get information, ratings, reviews about products, and also to compare prices and to check availability of products in different store locations. But according to John Donahoe, CEO of eBay, what we're seeing now is a true blurring of the frontiers between online and offline shopping behaviors. At PayPal’s innovation conference he explained how “online and offline are going to blend soon into a global commerce landscape, where physical stores will only be another point of access for shoppers”.
Consumers plan to shop online for gift purchases
According to a survey conducted by PriceGrabber, an increasing number of consumers are turning to online shopping for purchases to the detriment of in-store shopping. When participants were asked about this 2001 holiday purchases, 90% of consumers said they intend to shop online from a computer, and 13% from a mobile device. In other words, virtual stores are becoming a serious alternative to physical stores. On the other hand, in-store shopping seems to be decreasing: 48% of the respondents said they would shop in physical stores for the holiday season of 2011, compared to 65% in 2010. The main reasons for people to shop online are to avoid crowds during the holiday shopping season (78% of respondents), to enjoy shopping whenever they want (76%) and to take time to compare prices (75%). Online shopping becomes more convenient for consumers than offline shopping.
Local deals sites are revolutionizing the way consumers shop for gifts
During the holiday shopping season, consumers plan to find best deals for gifts online. According to the same study, 59% of consumers plan to use local deal sites for their gift purchases. Local deals are used for specific categories such as shopping, entertainment, family, restaurants or beauty. Despite an economic crisis, consumers feel like they are shopping at reasonable price thanks to local deals.