The decision making process for online purchases however does vary in terms of the tools available to them for accessing their prospective purchases. “While making purchase decisions, consumers are often unable to evaluate all available alternatives in great depth and, thus, tend to use two-stage processes to reach their decisions. At the first stage, consumers typically screen a large set of available products and identify a subset of the most promising alternatives. Subsequently, they evaluate the latter in more depth, perform relative comparisons across products on important attributes, and make a purchase decision.” (Häubl & Trifts, 2000)
The internet offers certain advantages and unique features to customers who shop online as opposed to the physical stores. In an online environment, it is possible for the customers to be interactive in their decision making. The online retail stores and online shopping portals allow the consumers to select the products that they are interested in and access detailed information on these products, their attributes as well as their prices. The interactive tools provided online allow the consumers to simultaneously review products enabling them to compare the product functions, features and prices which further aid them in their decision making. A research conducted by Häubl & Trifts pertaining to consumer behavior and decision making in an online environment provided that “interactive tools designed to assist consumers in the initial screening of available alternatives and to facilitate in-depth comparisons among selected alternatives in an online shopping environment may have strong favorable effects on both the quality and the efficiency of purchase decisions—shoppers can make much better decisions while expending substantially less effort.” (Häubl & Trifts, 2000)
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