What are purchase trends?

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Making purchases with a smartphone is one of the new purchase trends
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Purchase trends refer to what people are shopping for and how they are buying

Purchase trends show the way people are shopping, what they’re shopping for and reveals such details as when they are shopping.

The way people shop has changed drastically since the Internet swept onto the scene.

It used to be that you got in your car and drove to Sears or JC Penney to make your purchase. Alternatively, you shopped from their catalogs and called in your order.

You may have even sent your order in via snail mail. People still do that but not to the extent that they once did.

Those who own computers and are connected to the Internet have discovered the joys and expediency of shopping online. Of course, with the advent of SmartPhones and all types of mind-blowing gadgetry you don't have to be at home to connect to the Internet. You can stand at the bus stop, and make purchases online using your phone.

The knowledgeable online shopper has had a huge impact on purchase trends over the last ten years.

Originally, Internet users were leery about shopping online because they feared identify theft and theft of their credit card information. You still have to watch out for that and should only buy from sites that are secure. Now, ecommerce websites generally display SSL certification (such as, GeoTrust, Verisign) and a security seal. These are generally located in a very visible spot on websites, because merchants know that online shoppers expect that level of comfort when shopping online. 

For the most part, online shopping is very safe and quick. Consumers don’t have to leave home or stand in a check-out line. The fact that people can shop any time of the day or night has had an impact on purchase trends. Shopping is no longer a 10-6 activity, and certainly isn't relegated to the weekends. Purchases are now made at all hours of the night, on holidays and other times that were not traditional "shopping hours."

There are various purchase trends that reveal a lot about a store and about its customers and what they want from that store. A store attempts to meet its customers needs, which, in this competitive world of commerce, often requires stepping it up a bit and offering new services.  For example, several stores, such as Walmart, have created in-store pick up for items that were placed online. Other stores, such as Kmart, actually bring the online purchases out to your car, where you are waiting.

In-store pickup is becoming a big purchase/delivery trend and speaks to the dominating volume of business that many stores do online.

Some grocery stores are enabling people to shop online and then pick up their groceries at a drive-through window. These innovations are tracked by the individual businesses to see if they are successful. If not, the store either ditches the idea or reconfigures it so that it works better.

Social networking on Twitter and Facebook has led to a huge purchase trend. Stores use Facebook and Twitter to connect with their consumers and to provide tips on sales and other deals. Facebook and Twitter users can contact the stores and ask questions. Customer service, which impacts purchase down- or up-trends for specific stores and industries, has been heavily impacted by social media. Retailers who respond to customer complaints and questions fare better in the socially connect world.

Another purchase trend is the use of mobile devices that allow a consumer to compare prices, request, download and use coupons. Many consumer now comparison shop while they are standing in front of an item in a brick-and-mortar store. The shopper goes online to compare color, price and discounts, and may opt to buy online instead of making a purchase. Comparison shopping has become one of the most instant and pervasive purchasing trend in the age of internet retail, or e-commerce.

With online shopping, geographic borders for retail have been all but eliminated. It is easy to shop internationally. This is yet another purchase trend. What was off-limits to the consumer before because she didn’t live in France or Italy is just a click away. The world, including and especially commerce, has become smaller due

to state-of-the-art technology that allows us to easily and quickly connect with those half-way across the world from us.

We’ve come a long way, and we are shopping differently than we used to.

Keeping up with these purchase trends is vital for any company that wants to remain competitive. In fact, companies design and implement what they hope will become purchase trends that catch on. Shopping applications (apps) for mobile devices, online catalogs and email marketing are excellent examples of the retail industry responding to changing purchasing behavior.


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