Study: Online firms shop Web for products, services

More than three-quarters of online small businesses shop the Web for products and services, according to a report released last week by JupiterResearch.

Fully 79 percent of small online firms use the Web for purchases. By comparison, 65 percent of online consumers bought products over the Web in 2005, according to the report, "Small-Business Online Shopping: Understanding Online Research and Purchase Behavior."

Supplier or brand familiarity and comparison shopping are two main factors affecting purchasing decisions, the report said.

"Traditionally, small businesses have bought from suppliers based on ongoing relationships and we have found that they are emulating this same purchasing behavior online," Sonal Gandhi, JupiterResearch analyst and lead author of the report, said in a statement. "Sixty-two percent of small business online purchases are influenced by familiarity or an existing online or off-line relationship with a supplier. Comparison shopping, however, also influences almost one-half of the online small business purchases."

Comparison shoppers also research offline purchases on the Web and respond more favorably to online advertising than do relationship-driven shoppers, according to the report.

The products and services for which small businesses now compare prices while online will continue to be popular, according to the report. New small businesses will not only help bring about a shift toward even more online shopping, but are expected to lead the way in buying complex products and services over the Web.

Categories such as advertising/marketing services, financial services, credit cards, vehicles and furniture will benefit most from the growing Internet expertise of small business customers and efforts by suppliers to make these online transactions easier, according to the report. Travel currently leads the small-business shopping categories, followed by computer hardware and software and office supplies.

Companies that hope to stay competitive and want to encourage more small-business customers to shift their buying to the Web must provide shoppers with comparative information, the report said. At the same time, companies should emphasize the convenience of the Web to foster relationships with small-business customers and retain their loyalty, the report said.

"The most interesting fact is that four out of five small businesses are shopping regularly for business-related products and services online," Gandhi said. "Companies that are marketing to small businesses online would be happy to know that they are there and they are shopping on a regular basis."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Linda Rosencrance

Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?