June 30, 2012

Make me an offer, say online shoppers

Make me an offer, say online shoppers

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Online shoppers would rather receive an offer for a product or service than make their own offer, according to a study led by a Michigan State University scholar that has implications for the fast-growing e-commerce industry.

The findings may come as a surprise given that shopping online is an anonymous process that seemingly can give consumers more confidence to drive a hard bargain, said Don Conlon, Eli Broad Professor of Management in MSU’s Broad College of Business.

But the study found that participants who made their own offers were less successful in sealing the deal and, when they were successful, worried they overpaid. Many shoppers found the process of researching an offer to be a hassle.

“Americans are very busy, and it’s less time consuming to be the one receiving the offer rather than the one proposing the offer,” Conlon said. “People tend to be happier when they’re in the receiver role.”

Online spending in the United States is expected to jump 45 percent in the next four years, from $226 billion this year to $327 billion in 2016, according to Forrester Research Inc.

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