Meeting the unique needs of big-ticket shoppers

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Big-ticket shoppers want in-person inspections and flexible payment options.

There are three primary characteristics that set big-ticket shoppers apart from other consumers: including in-person inspection of products, online research and flexible payment options. 

FierceRetail spoke with e-commerce expert Denise Purtzer, vice president of FuturePay, to learn more about how retailers can better meet the needs of these big-ticket shoppers.

Despite the desire to check out items in person, the channel used for purchasing big-ticket items such as appliances or electronics is generally split, as 56% of shoppers have made a big-ticket purchase online within the last year or are planning to do so in the next year, according to a recent FuturePay study.

Denise Purtzer

“With the rise of e-commerce, it seems shoppers prefer the convenience of making these purchases from the comfort of their homes, rather than in-store,” Purtzer said.

Gone are the days when shoppers would typically conduct some research online before making a trip to the store when deciding on a big-ticket item. Today, shoppers can do all their research online and from more devices, getting enough information to pull the trigger on a purchase without ever stepping foot in a brick-and-mortar location. 

“From a desktop, tablet or mobile device, shoppers can access thousands of retailers to ensure they are getting exactly what they want—saving them time and money,” she said. 

After surveying 1,500 consumers, FuturePay found that preferences definitely change for big-ticket shopping experiences. 

  • Shoppers will often still opt to check out these big-ticket items in person to confirm the quality and look of the product before making a purchase. Even if they decide to buy online, looking at the item in person can be enough to ease their concerns.
  • Big-ticket shoppers also do a lot of research online to compare retailers, prices and models to score the best deal possible. 
  • These shoppers are looking for more ways to pay and more flexibility in how they pay. In fact, 71% of those surveyed said a retailer providing more ways to pay than just a credit card is “very important” or “somewhat important,” and more than half of shoppers said that they would be more likely to buy a big ticket item online if financing options were available.

With all of these preferences in mind, Purtzer recommends that retailers take a closer look at their payment options at checkout in order to attract these shoppers. 

In fact, payment options can be a deal breaker for many shoppers. About 26% of shoppers surveyed said that one of the biggest online shopping frustrations was that the payment option they were looking for wasn’t available, and 15% admitted to abandoning a cart because of lack of payment options.

“By providing more options that let shoppers customize the experience to fit their needs and budgets, retailers can help curb cart abandonment while offering a better customer experience,” she said. 

Purtzer continued: “One of the biggest hurdles for retailers is their checkout experience. Ensuring that the entire process is seamless, from ‘Add to Cart’ to the ‘Thank You’ page, is crucial in preventing big-ticket shoppers from leaving a potential purchase behind. Whether it’s too many form fields, shipping costs or limited payment options, even the smallest inconvenience is enough for shoppers to abandon their shopping cart and try your competitor.”

In addition, Purtzer recommends that retailers focus on customer service. If shoppers are going to put up big bucks, they want to know that they will have support if anything were to go wrong.