Social and cultural factors effect the way someone behaves in the internet. There are numerous ways,
There are infinite bytes of information in the web and the demand for it is limited by human capacity. For e.g.people do not like Spam. It was amazing to see google making use of this weakness. coming up with the product "Priority Inbox" in gmail.
Multitasking is around the corner and consumers do not want to spend time looking for information. For e.g.No one will comment here if they were asked to sign up for the web site. They basically do not have time!
Work from Home
If you take Sunday observer you will see lots of Ads asking you to work from home. This phenomena is making a free environment in the web creating lot of consumers browsing thru home.
I want what i want when i want
Anytime anywhere concept is really important. Consumers want to access information even while they are travelling. For e.g.They expect you to respond to an email within 24hrs. This is a very good fact for our web clients. We know very good examples of missing clients becuase of non-response and late-response. If you do not reply, well - there are many other options for the consumer.
Even in Sri Lanka, there is a community building up to be "I CANT LIVE WITHOUT INTERNET". These is a good target market for many online-business and can make use for indirect marketing by popularising your brand in social media.
Consumers like to logon, access info, purchase goods and contact people all on their own. So do not have too many automation on your web site.
Consumers like to feel they are in control and help themselves on their own. When designing your web site, have room for visitors to help themselves. For e.g.Fill a form online, order a sample product...etc.
Privacy, online crime and Data Security
I know a Sunday Sinhala newspaper which publishes of some article about bad aspects of internet every week. There are pros and cons, but the fact is that consumers are aware of this and we have to be careful in designing web-sites that deal with private data and transactions.
So we discussed socio and cultural trends and factors that effect consumer behavior online.
Next we will talk about individual differences and what people really want to do online.