Shopping Online for Freedom, Control, and Fun

by Mary Wolfinbarger, Mary Gilly



Consumers shop online for both goal-oriented and experiential reasons. However, goal-oriented motives are more common among online shoppers than are experiential motives. This article identifies and discusses attributes that facilitate goal-oriented online shopping, including accessibility/convenience, selection, information availability, and lack of unwanted sociality from retail sales help or shopping partners such as spouses. Importantly, consumers report that shopping online results in a substantially increased sense of freedom and control as compared to offline shopping. While consumers are more likely to describe offline rather than online shopping in experiential terms, evidence of experiential motivations for online shopping is emerging. Also, while closing transactions at web sites is one important e-commerce goal, companies should not lose site of the continuing importance and power of their web site as an information and communications vehicle.

California Management Review

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Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

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