retail salesRipen eCommerce recently conducted a survey of consumers in the U.S. to determine the factors involved in the decision to purchase in-store vs online. One of the biggest factors continuing to drive offline sales, according to the study, is the ability for consumers to get a feel for the product and it's quality while shopping.

Other results found that almost one-third of participants want instant gratification. Same day delivery is not always a feasible option for business, but smaller scale versions may work.

Privacy concerns played into the decision to shop in-store for 16.9% of participants. Allowing consumers to opt-out of emails and providing guest checkout can reduce hesitation to shop online. It would also be beneficial to strengthen security and display policies on the website.

Shipping costs account for 14.4% of consumers’ decision to chop in-store instead of online. Offering free shipping is an obvious remedy for this issue. Before doing this on a large scale, companies can run a trial, giving a select group of customers the offer so that behavior can be monitored.

Savvy online retailers know that understanding consumers' path to purchase is the first step to capturing an even greater portion of the $3.2 trillion U.S. retail industry.

Of consumers surveyed, 6.5% find returns to be easier and cheaper in-store. Online stores could find it advantageous to promote an easy, trustworthy return policy.

Customers will not make the switch from in-store to online shopping overnight, but responding to the deciding factors that make people shop is a great first step. Listening to customers and responding to their needs will, over time, result in higher online conversions.