We don’t have to wait for the Metaverse in order to visit a shopping center online. In fact, we have been doing it for a long time, on sites such as Amazon and eBay. But the difference today is that there are more and more of them being built, to the pleasure of consumers who are adopting them willingly. Here is a quick glance into B2C marketplaces and the reasons why consumers prefer them to physical stores.
What is a B2C Marketplace?
Let’s start with the basic, which is B2C. It means that a Business is selling to Consumers. It is there to distinguish itself from the other form of sales, which are B2B: Business to Business.
A B2C marketplace is just like a shopping center. Basically, you don’t see walls separating the various items, but they are still available by categories. The only reason why it is still done this way, is to ease customer’s searches of particular products, most importantly when they have forgotten the name of it. Otherwise, it is just the same as when you visit a store:
- You search for a product
- You compare the ones that are available in the store
- You choose one and place it in your basket
- You continue your shopping and add more items has you go along
- You go to the payment point where you will end-up purchasing the items that you chose
The difference is that you won’t be leaving with whatever you have bought. They will be sent to you by courier. So if you need a pair of shoes to go dancing tonight, you will still have to visit a shoe store in your city, today.
Why do customers prefer B2C Marketplaces?
Humans are creatures of habit. If you want to break them, you will have to work hard and persevere at it. But once you have modified them, they will follow you wherever you want them to go. That is, until someone else convinces them that there is something better. This is what happened with online shopping. When it all started, people were reticent to buy their products online. Clothes were especially difficult to enter into people’s mind. How can you buy a pair of pants without trying them on, first? Well, it turns out that you can. If they don’t fit, you just send them back, free of charge. In other words, our homes have become dressing rooms.
But let’s skip the years and arrive to 2022. Numbers are showing that online shopping is taking over. Grand View Research has mentioned in a recent report that they expect e-commerce to reach close to $8 trillion, within the next five years. Of course, B2C marketplace will play a big role in reaching these figures. Now, let’s see why customers say they prefer shopping online than in physical stores.
It is Convenient
Not surprisingly, this is the number one reason shoppers say they enjoy doing their deeds online. There are various elements that explain why. The first one is that you can shop till you drop and start back again as soon as you are ready (58% mentioned the ability to shop 24/7). There are no opening hours online. So, if you want to spend your evening and part of the night as well, looking for Christmas gifts or a new guitar, you can. In fact, most of us working regular hours have very little time to visit stores during their opening hours. It only makes sense that we catch-up on the things we need to buy, by sitting in front of our computer and ordering them online.
The second element, in regards to being convenient, is that you don’t waste time in your car or in public transport (40% mentioned the fact that it saves time). The minutes that we own in a day have become more precious than ever. Where will we use them? Moving from one point to another and back, to buy some products or enjoying a film, reading a book or going dancing? When you do the math, there is no real reason not to buy online anymore.
The third reason why customers say that it is convenient, is that you can find everything in one place (27% mentioned it). That is probably because they shop in B2C marketplaces, like Amazon and Facebook Marketplace.
The second category that was more often mentioned in a study by KPMG International, a few years ago, had to do with prices. There were two main reasons why prices were advantageous online. The first is that it is easier to compare prices (54%), as you can move from one website to another, until you finally have a good idea of what a fair price is. The second one was that you actually get better prices online (46%). That is often true, at least if you don’t mind switching brands. Otherwise, the one that you buy in store will usually be at the same price on the internet and in their facilities.
Online is Better than Offline
Who would have thought that we would prefer to remain isolated at home, in order to do our shopping, than joining the crowds? Well, when you write it down, you kind of understand right away that it makes sense. In fact, 15% said that this was the reason why they prefer shopping online, while another 11% agreed that the time wasted at the cash register was certainly not worth it. However, the most common reason that makes it greater to shop online than offline is the simple fact that people don’t like being there. They say, at 39%, that it is convenient for them to not visit shops anymore.
Finally, there are three more categories of reason that came up, although a little less mentioned. Ease of selection was one of them. It is an important part of the change of mentality, with 29% mentioning that is a greater variety/selection online than in stores, and 20% that buy on the internet when they search for items that are hard to find. Then, some mentioned that they have no other choice (living in small city), or that they enjoy the free shipping as well.