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The New Stuff

New Research Shows eCommerce Retailers Win with Women by Recreating a Window Shopping Experience: Sparking Inspiration and Showing Products in Context

BlogHer, Inc., the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online, and Create with Context, Inc., a leading digital products research and design consultancy, today announced the results of a joint research study of women, their perspectives on online vs. offline shopping, and the layers of influence that drive their purchasing research and decision-making.
Controlling over 80% of the household spending, the female demographic represents a $7 trillion dollar market in the US alone. Currently, women expect eCommerce to deliver efficiency, breadth of information and the best deals, but miss the inspiration and social experience that retail shopping still delivers. The purpose of “Women, the Web and Their Wallets” is to shed light on how brands and businesses could be building better products and websites for women…and how they can provide women with the tools and insights they need to commit their dollars in this challenging economy.
Key findings from the study include: 
  •     Women “can’t live without” their computers and mobile phones, favoring them to a significant degree over passive entertainment devices, such as televisions
  •     Women cite online shopping as more fast, efficient, informational and economical, with 81% of women believing online shopping is where to get “the best deal”. 62% of women also believe a clean and uncluttered website is crucial to a good online shopping experience.
  •     Design is a critical factor for most women, encompassing look and feel, user interface and experience, and ease of use
  •     Women visit a physical store when they seek inspiration (49%) or want to see something in context (67%), signaling a missed opportunity for online retailers
  •     Women want to find products based on criteria that drive their purchase decisions – such as aesthetics or integration into the home - but eCommerce filtering tools tend instead to focus on manufacturer features and functions
  •     Women’s adoption of social networking and social tools points to missed opportunities to incorporate social elements into shopping, customer support and even console gaming
  •     Women prefer to read product information, opinions and reviews from users, not companies, with blogs being the preferred over message boards and social networks specifically when it comes to finding product recommendations
“eCommerce today doesn’t support how women want to find products and make purchase decisions,” says Ilana Westerman, principal at Create with Context, Inc. “While eCommerce can be fast and efficient when you know exactly what you want, it doesn’t support the way women shop: browsing, window shopping, exploring for new products, and imaging how products would integrate into their lives. eCommerce sites have missed many opportunities to provide women with the shopping experience they want online, and those who design these experiences in the future will win.”
“Women expect an information-rich shopping environment online, and user opinions and reviews are a highly-desired part of that shopping experience,” said Elisa Camahort Page, co-founder and COO of BlogHer, Inc. “With blogs providing rich context about the user, and substantive and interactive discussions about products, it’s natural that women cite blogs as a top source of product recommendations during purchasing research.”
About the Survey
“Women, the Web and Their Wallets” was conducted using the following samples: 
  •     20 in-home ethnographic and phone interviews with women from across 10 states
  •     A general U.S. population sample was fielded in 10 U.S. geographies, including New York, Chicago, Denver, San Diego, Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta, South Florida, Dallas and Portland, OR, consisted of 1,131 female respondents. The margin of error is +/- 2.87%.
  •     A BlogHer Network sample, fielded across an audience of 23 million users, consisted of a BlogHer web network intercept sample of 1,157 female respondents. The margin of error is +/- 2.87%.
  •     All portions of the study were conducted in August 2010. Unless otherwise noted, responses from the two samples were not combined.
The results of the “Women, the Web and Their Wallets” study can be found here: