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Online vs. Offline Shopping: A Comparative Analysis of Consumer Decision-Making

  • 6 Pages
  • Published On: 28-10-2023

In the last two decades or so, there have been two quite competitive ways of shopping or acquiring what a consumer wants from the market. These techniques include; online shopping and offline shopping. Online shopping as described by (Jourdan, 2015) is a form of electronic commerce that allows consumers to directly purchase various goods or services from a seller using the Internet as a medium over a web browser. On the other hand, offline shopping is a manual way of shopping where the consumer visits the marketplace personally to get the goods or particular services. This forms of shopping have both been beneficial in their unique ways but have as well faced various challenges each. One of the key factors that face every marketer who is out to do shopping is decision making. Nevertheless, according to, (Blackwell, 2006) the process of making the decision are said to be quite similar whether the consumer is offline or online.

However, some significant differences in this forms of marketing are shopping environments and marketing communication. Based on the traditional consumer decision model, Consumer purchase decision is typically characterised by some attributes which may include; need awareness, information search, alternative evaluations, the decision to buy and finally, post-purchasing behaviour, (Chatterjee, 2010). When it comes to online buyers habits, it is mainly observed that when customers see banner ads or the various online promotions, these advertisements tend to attract the customers’ attention and as a result stimulate their interest in these particular products. However, before they decide to purchase, they in most cases will require additional information that will help them in their decision-making. If they do not have the necessary information to make a decision, they tend to do further research through online channels such as online catalogues, websites, or the different search engines, (Blackwell, 2006).


Finally, when the consumers have enough information, they will hence need to compare those choices of products or services which hence turns them to the search stage, where they can hence look for the product reviews or other customer comments regarding their experience with this product. This thereby helps them find out which brand or company tends to offer them the best fit to their expectation. At this stage, factors such as well-organized website structure, the attractive design, and nature of information sources highly influences buyers’ behaviour, (Chiang, 2003). Online customers then go ahead to compare their different options with the help of factors such as product assortment, sale services and information quality that helps online consumers to decide what product they should choose, or what seller they should buy from. The last online consumer behaviour is typically referred to as the Post-purchase behaviour which takes place after their online purchase. In some instances, the consumers are not entirely pleased with what they received from their online buying and hence they might want to return or change the product.

On the other hand, when it comes to offline buyer behaviour, they partly differ from online consumer habits to some extent. In offline decision making, the user first identifies the physical point of sale where they will make their purchase. This is usually the most important points of contact between the brands and the consumers. For online buyers, they do their cross-sectional check over various market channels for comparison. For offline buyers, they are seen to visit and circulate through various commercial spaces may be trying to compare the different attributes of their products and services before making a decision where to buy while some just move around doing a survey to point out where they will come to buy when time comes to do so, (Uzan, 2014). One they can select a physical point of purchase, they then compare the different brands in the market based on their quality, quantity and maybe price before they can hence decide which to chose based on their level of satisfaction.

The online marketing world is often said to be quite a tough place to navigate. In the online world, the speed and the adoption of technology present various unique challenges for online marketers. One of this challenges is trust. This is a crucial aspect for online marketers as online buyers are usually quite cautious due to matters of fraud among others, With the advancement in technology, there have become quite some counter-fate sites that deceive the buyer and hence making them lose trust in the entire online market. Another challenge for online marketers is generating traffic and leads. Based on 2016 State of an Inbound report, marketers are said to be struggling a lot with producing enough demand for their online products and services. With competition stiffening over time, and with the availability of so many options of platforms for marketers to publish their content and different ways to promote it, it's hence becoming hard to know where to focus your efforts, (Inbound, 2016). While the last challenge is management. Poor management affects the ability of online marketers to provide necessary services to their clients which are not good for business.

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However, this challenges can be corrected by enhancing sound management systems that will hence ensure proper client services are offered, the system is safe from fraudsters and copyright and ensuring that the quality of products and services they provide is of high quality, one worth the paying for.


  • Blackwell, R. M. P. a. E. J., 2006. Consumer behaviour, New-York, NY: Harcourt College Publishers.
  • Chatterjee, P., 2010. Consumer shopping orientations. Market Intelligence and Planning, Volume Vol. 28(1), pp. pp. 9-24.
  • Chiang, K. a. D. R., 2003. Factors Driving Consumer Intention to Shop On-line. Journal of Consumer Psychology, Volume Vol. 13(1), pp. pp. 98-105.
  • Inbound, S. o., 2016. Challenges facing online marketers, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Jourdan, V., 2015. Difference between online and offline consumer decision making process. London, UK: Rais Opportunities Ltd.

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