online shopping

If you want to sell to consumers, you need to build an ecommerce site.

By Rieva Lesonsky

One of the keys to small business success is to give consumers what they want. If you’re in—or want to be in–the retail business, one of the things people increasingly insist on is being able to shop online. This, of course, means, you need to jump on the ecommerce bandwagon.

According to a recent report, Mintel’s Online Shopping US 2015, 69 percent of American adults shop online at least once a month—and 33 percent shop online weekly.

So how do you get them to shop on your site? First, provide some type of free shipping offer. Nearly half of consumers (48 percent) will actually spend more in order to hit a free shipping minimum.

Aside from books and ebooks (the most popular items bought online), consumers are specifically shopping for women’s clothing (27 percent) and shoes (16 percent). Mintel reports the three top categories for online purchases are:

  1. Clothing and accessories (62 percent)
  2. Electronics (54 percent)
  3. Games, toys, school supplies (37 percent)

Mintel says these categories have one thing in common—the merchandise are things people buy occasionally. Online shopping is less popular for goods people want “immediately or in the near future,” such as personal care products and furniture. Billy Hulkower, a senior technology analyst at Mintel, notes the most popular categories contain “products [that are] prime candidates for impulse buying, but…do not generally fulfill immediate needs.” He also points out the results indicate “women are warming to the idea they can try clothes on at home and simply return what they don’t want.”

An interesting factor in frequent online buying: The more children under 18 consumers have, the more they buy. Only 23 percent of consumers who don’t have kids at home make weekly online purchases. But online shoppers with one child (40 percent), two kids (56 percent) and three children (66 percent) buy weekly.