Friday, March 06, 2009

Are you more likely to spend more when purchasing online?

Does anyone else find that they may spend more online than in a physical store?

I noticed I have just done this recently - when placing an order for books online. and other sites (such as provide books for a lot cheaper than retail, so this makes it easier for a start.

But is it only the cost-effectiveness? Or can it also be contributed to the use of non-physical (electronic) money?

I know in poker the use of poker 'chips' is used, as opposed to 'physical' money. One reason for this is that users are less attached to chips than wads of cash. And thus more likely to gamble more.

I am fascinated by this concept.

Take a look at books online for 'Why We Buy' (

My scenario: I spent a lot more than I would have in a physical book store, and also purchased a sole book from a separate site, for roughly what I may have over here in a physical store, when including postage (although not available over here in physical store). Perhaps it is also that I have been engaged with the site for some time - with my goal being to purchase these books from this site - and then human behaviour dictates that I follow through with my goal. Another factor could also be that when purchasing books online (and especially from overseas, for Australian users) is that one may purchase more items in one bulk order, to make postage costs work out effectively lower per item.

Another similar example is how making things easy for customers can increase sales substantially. Take for example Apple's app store. Customers have pre-entered their credit card details, so only have to use a simple once click process to make these small app purchases (plus enter their password in a popup window - a seemingly 'nothing' thing). If users had to enter their full contact and credit card details each time, sales would be overwhelmingly lower. Of note, is that Apple has created a model for this to be used, however this may not be applicable for all businesses.


amanda said...

This is an interesting concept but i actually think i spend less online because i am too lazy to put in my details and stuff around with shipping. I would blow $20 in a store without thinking but online it has to be something i really want to go to all the effort... not sure what that says about me.

lukekowald said...


Perhaps there are different groups of consumers, each with different preferences.

And perhaps that also highlights the importance of making things dead easy to use online...