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What information do consumers consider, and how do they look for it, when shopping for groceries online?

Benn, Y and Webb, TL and Chang, BPI and Reidy, J (2015) What information do consumers consider, and how do they look for it, when shopping for groceries online? Appetite, 89. pp. 265-273. ISSN 0195-6663

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Abstract

© 2015 The Authors. Previous research investigating what information shoppers seek when purchasing groceries has used either lab-experiments or observed shoppers in supermarkets. The present research investigates this question in a relatively naturalistic online-grocery environment. Forty participants completed their weekly shopping online while their eye-movements were recorded. Ten of the participants were subsequently interviewed to gain insight into their information seeking behaviour. We found that, when looking for products, 95% of participants navigated through the 'virtual departments', 80% used the 'search' facility, and 68% browsed the special offer pages. Once on the product pages, participants tended to look at the pictures of products, rather than examine detailed product information. To explain these findings, we suggest that online grocery sites simulate familiar supermarket environments, which may explain why consumers prefer to browse categories of products rather than use search terms. We also suggest that additional strategies are needed if consumers are to be encouraged to view detailed product information.

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