The ease of e-commerce and availability of discount sites has led to more consumers expecting a better deal this holiday season, according to a study by omni-channel marketing solutions firm Cartera Commerce. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

The 2014 Consumer Spending and Deal-Seeking Behaviors study showed that consumers are no longer willing to pay full price for online purchases. Some 81% of survey respondents said the accessibility of discount, deals and coupon sites have affected their willingness to pay full price. In fact, 35% said they never pay full price for items online. This presents a new challenge for retailers as they look to capitalise on the popular upcoming shopping days.

The research also suggests rewards programme members are highly engaged deal seekers. According to the survey, 87% of respondents who participate in these programmes redeem rewards for points, cashback and miles. Consumers find rewards programmes tied to immediate cash savings or discounts the most valuable, citing cashback and points that can be exchanged for cash and discounts as the most sought after rewards.

However, 39% of respondents are unaware that these programmes offer online shopping malls that provide a one-stop shop to find the best deals.

"Online shoppers are empowered with ease of use and access to countless deal sites. With this 'perfect information,' they're in total control of their shopping experiences and the prices they pay," said Tom Beecher, Cartera Commerce's president and CEO. "With one-click price comparisons, today's online retailers are facing significant challenges. E-tailers must leverage online tools that enable this kind of deal-hunting activity, and tap into the significant brand and credit card rewards networks where likely spenders are shopping for discounts that also come with rewards, like cashback, points and airline miles."

Highlights from the study include:

  • Apart from convenience, respondents said the top reason they shop online is for "better deals and discounts" (52%); the second most selected response was "easier to compare prices" (41%), followed by "larger selection/inventory" (36%).
  • Consumers look to a variety of sites to find the best deals, citing store/brand websites (52%), search engines (39%), and searchable deals, cashback and discount sites (38%) as the top three sources.
  • 89% of respondents said if they knew they could find almost all of the discounted products they need and want on one website, they'd shop on that site more frequently
  • 62% of respondents expect to spend less than $499 online this holiday season
  • Half of respondents say they will spend "about the same this holiday season, but more respondents said they will spend more online this holiday season (28% online vs. 8% in stores) and less in stores (47% in stores vs. 22% online).