We recently came across a rather obvious but interesting notion. If you ask people whether they shop online, they automatically make the assumption that you’re talking about shopping online for tangible items that need to be delivered to them. Many will tell you that they don’t shop online but when you interrogate them further you discover that they do in fact shop online for intangible items like airline tickets cell phone airtime, electricity and movie tickets.

In a recent large sample survey (11828) we discovered that amongst “non-online shoppers” – that is to say, those who do not shop online for products that need to be delivered to their doors, 64% of them actually do shop online for intangible items.

That so many “non-online shoppers” happily shop online for intangibles indicates concern about delivery and exchange problems associated with purchasing tangibles online. It is most commonly believed that the reason why “non-online shoppers” don’t shop online is because they are worried about making payments online. It turns out that this is not the main reason at all.

Assurances and guarantees that the correct products will be delivered on time, at no charge, in perfect working order and assurances that the products will be efficiently and accurately exchanged if necessary, are the keys to converting “non-online shoppers” to online shoppers.

We have a really interesting and thorough dissertation on the topic of online shopping. We are able to filter the findings through users of nearly all of the major South African retailers.