eased amounts of information as a precursor to making a purchase. Keller (2001) therefore claims that consumers who shop online are in search of reduced stress, time savings, convenience, price, and value. They are willing to navigate the Internet to find value, but are unlikely to accept the proposition that an e-commerce merchant automatically offers value.
In their investigation of online buying behavior, Li, Kuo, and Russell (1999) found that a number of variables predict whether or not an individual is likely to make purchases online. These variables include convenience, education of the consumer, knowledge of the channel, and perceived distribution utility and accessibility. What Li, et al (1999) suggest is that the vast majority of online shoppers ultimately regulate their shopping in this new medium in the same way that they regulate their shopping in traditional stores. While a relatively small number of consumers may in fact develop a compulsive, impulsive, or addictive shopping behavior, most consumers will make rational product choices and purchase decisions on line in the same way that they do in other shopping venues.
It is also important to recognize that many e-commerce consumers fall into one of two key demographic cohorts: younger shoppers who have grown up with the Internet and older shoppers or baby-boomers nearing retirement age (Polyak, 2000). Baby-boomers who are beginning to move into retirement or to become senior citizens may not be as technologically sophisticated as younger shoppers. However, baby boomers represent the most affluent market segment in the United States today and are significantly more likely than other market niches to have a home computer, shop online, and make major purchases on a regular basis. Consequently, Polyak (2000) contends that marketers in the changing world of e-commerce must wake up to the fact that older consumers can only be reached via multiple media channels with multiple purchases.