In this article we will analyse two, apparently completely at odds, ways of online purchase that are becoming more common on the Internet.
The first one is based on the quickness, the immediacy of the commercial proposal.
In this first case the cyber user search something online, displays the image, the main characteristics and, consequently, through a click he immediately makes the purchase.
Google, that studies very carefully the users’ behaviour on global scale, has perceived the great possibility of proposing already on the search results list some valuable details of the seeking product and, great innovation, a button making the purchase immediately possible. This procedure of immediate purchase directly from the search results list is at the experimental stage with the name of “Purchase on Google.”
From the anthropological point of view we can consider it as an inevitable consequence of tools and “modus operandi” currently possible online; the increasingly frequent use of the Internet by everybody, the easygoing access of smart phone characterised by high resolution displays and low cost Internet connections, the blind trust in the results list proposed by the search engines, the compulsive use of the social tools and so on, are elements that connote many of the cybernauts as modern, fast, receptive, impulsive, instant and smart.
The principle is simple: search, see and select everything with a click.
The “Buy-on-click” is much more than a temporary tendency; it is a deep-rooted and global form of use to which all, the institutions too, have to deal with; it is the abolition of borders that separates the first perception from the real purchase; it is the affirmation of the smart tool, phone or tablet, of the action on the thought and of the offer on the search.
Google, well aware that most of its users choose the first three results proposed by the search results list (see our previous article), tries to catalyse this impulsiveness in order to direct it toward the immediate purchase.
If you are not a buy-on-click type, but you love the confrontation, the reflection, the search of the promotional offer, then for you goes the second way of purchase described in this article, the so-called “social shopping”.
The “social shopping” is based on “circular mechanisms” that characterize social tools and new-generation portals, tools and social groups who share the latest news in terms of offers and promotions or prefer to exchange the discount coupons. Often are the companies themselves that create promotional situations which involve and loyalize this particular type of clients.Not only social groups, but also real portals as Italian Grupon and Tippest or Let’s bonus, where everything is promotion, super discount or on sale, where exceptional condition becomes normality and certainty.
In this case the speed and the thread of the web don’t change into impulsiveness but into comparability regarding the spasmodic chase offers and great savings.
The “social shopping” user is willing to invest his time in the search of a great offer, even if is not what he really wants, but he would tend to share it online in order to nourish his popularity and credibility as a “social shopper”. He believes in the friendship liaison and the relationships with others “shoppers” whose reviews and advices he follows; he is careful to the trade even if he is well aware of the fact that the frenzied search of the lowest price can also lead to a less advantageous purchase or less appropriate.
“Purchase on” and “Social shopping” are nothing but two sides of the same coin, the network provides endless (or almost) relational possibilities and endless (or almost) alternatives. Each of us reacts to this chaos by trying to create his own path; some of us act on impulse, out of habit or for laziness take the shortest route and some of us, on the other hand, exploit all the possible alternatives in the search of the free-of-charge or the lowest price.
In view of these extreme forms of behaviour, which we confirm is not a question of small groups but of most cyber users and on a global scale, it is important that certain social agents play the leading role.
The institutions ought to guide the customer who should have the same rights and duties online as those presents in “the real world.”
The family, first among all the social agents, has to follow the process of search, selection and purchase online, especially of the youngest, namely digital natives.
The school, equally important agent, has to explain, already in primary school, how to use the internet and how to “deal with the information”, but that is another story we will look into in one of the next articles.