Online shopping: consumers still like to test products before buying

By July 10, 2012
couple testing tv sets

YBUY members try out quality gadgets at home for a month for a fee. Included shipping and returns lower the barrier to larger-ticket products for online-only stores.


E-commerce has gained significant presence in most retail categories, but one area that it has room to grow in is high-end electronic devices. E-commerce offers multiple advantages compared to shopping in-stores: it enables consumers to compare prices, avoid long lines, etc. But while many consumers are willing to purchase higher-priced gadgets online, they often visit a store or some venue where they can handle the product or see it perform in a demonstration. YBUY hopes to tackle this phenomenon with a new e-commerce solution that includes a test period and product curation.

Giving customers the opportunity to test products at home

The service has been described as a Netflix for gadgets by the LA Times. YBUY offers a membership club where anyone can use a product for a month and decide at the end of the trial period whether to keep it or return it. Members decide whether they want to test a specific product, get it deliverd at their house, and have a month to make up their mind about actually buying it. Members only opt in when they are interested in trying out a product - and the ones on offer vary widely. A Vitamix blender, Kaldi coffeemaker, Fijifilm X10 Camera, iPad, or Jawbone Jambox are all options on YBUY. The $25 includes shipping both to and from the customer, and if she likes the product, that amount is deducted from the price when YBUY sends the bill.

Makes a more tangible and personalized online shopping experience

The service is designed less like a subscription and more like a circumvention of the virtual shopping experience. Customers get to experience a product that they are curious about firsthand, with plenty of time to weigh the pros and cons of purchasing it, and return it without any vestige of stigma or guilt - returns are built into the membership concept. Staff selects the items that are available on the site, and the customer gets a personal service assistant to interact with. The process is much more interactive than visiting Amazon or a similar mainstream e-shop, and that appeals to their members by creating a personal experience. 


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