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Are People Shopping Online for Big-Ticket Items?

The answer is a resounding “yes” – and it is on the rise. From recent data, online shoppers are far more likely to purchase big-ticket home items, including major appliances like refrigerators and washer/dryer combos, directly from a website than they were 2 years ago (according to a 2008 study by PriceGrabber, a Web-based comparison-shopping service). The study found that “unease with online merchants’ customer service and the fear of making large online purchases have all decreased” since a similar survey was taken back in 2006.

According to the current survey of 1945 shoppers, 24% said they would be apt to buy major appliances online today, compared with around half that number two years ago. While the desire to “touch and feel” large home items remains an important reason for people not buying off the Web, the percentage citing that reason has dropped over the two surveys (from 70% to just over 50%). That is namely because certain retailers have become so good at merchandising online.

Thirty-three percent of online users will now conduct more research online to make sure they get exactly what they want before purchasing. (Source: Jupiter Research Economic Downturn Online Consumer Survey, Q4 2008.) A whopping 13% use the Web specifically to reduce the number of visits to the store. This research process shows an increased concern for doing more targeted shopping and making fewer impulse purchases. Of the online buyers who use more than one Web site when shopping around, 30% are in search of more product information—better images, product detail and beyond—and the vastness of the sites offering relevant product information has proved valuable rather than daunting. In fact, 58% of online users say that the breadth of information available online helps them feel more confident that they are buying the right product to meet their needs. (Source: JupiterResearch/NPD Retail Consumer Survey (04/08), n = 2,231 (US).)

Ultimately, much of our goal at Adobe Scene7 has been to support the consumer quest for information for either direct ecommerce purchase or research prior to store purchase – ranging from basic enhancements (zoom, alt views) to more advanced shopping tools such as visual configurators, where shoppers can actually visualize more on the web than they can in the store with these interactive selling tools. Swapping out basic colors is one thing, but Sub-Zero is one appliance manufacturer that has given new meaning to customization, actually enabling shoppers to view appliances in different kitchen environments, and change appliance finishes, cabinets, walls, countertops, trim and floors to reflect personal style and color palette. As this implementation caught my eye – I thought anyone who is selling bigger ticket items would be interested in checking this best practice out.

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I have a client, Leonard’s New England, that sells $10K+ one-of-a-kind antique beds on-line. Anything can be sold o-line if the retailer constructs pages that draw the customer in and tell their story.

Ted Hurlbut

Hi there, really liked reading through your post, pretty interesting topic. Will stop by again as this internet site is a terrific reference. Cya. Steve

Overall I feel good with online shopping and always try to shop online wherever possible. The main advantage is you get enough time to see the reviews, compare the prices and most important savings of time (you save a lot in commuting). Additionally the convenience of being able to order at any time of the day is plus factor

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  • ShopTalk is a blog featuring "Quick Tips", trends and more written by experts from the Adobe Scene7 team who live and breathe web, rich media and customer experience. This interactive forum offers insights and best practices on the latest trends we are seeing in the marketplace to help improve your customer experience, ultimately driving conversions and revenues.
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