This month has seen the publication of two studies which look at the ways in which consumers are evolving their habits in a world which is increasingly focused on e-commerce. The results of each reveals just how much security and site design can play into boosting sales for businesses.

Firstly, a report from Orange looking at the value that people place on private information revealed that a typical UK citizen believes their data to be worth £140 when exchanged with a business.

This is made all the more pertinent when broken down into per-unit costs with trusted retail brands earning a lower asking price for information than those organisations with which an individual has not previously had any interaction with.

Eighty per cent of those questioned said that they were well aware of how valuable their personal info was to businesses. A similar proportion stated that they appreciate the increased importance of their data when engaging with a brand or organisation that would consider them to be an ideal target.

This shows that people are becoming wise to the idea that information is a key currency on the internet and while people are happy to part ways with data when they sign up for sites and services, they will only do so if they think that they are getting something in return.

When it comes to the matter of onsite e-commerce experience versus pure brand recognition and reputation, a report from BloomReach has found that a big name is often less important than pure customer satisfaction with the shopping process.

Eighty five per cent of respondents to the survey said that they were not interested in the reputation of the retail brand they used when shopping online. Instead, people are more concerned about being able to easily navigate around sites, find products and services and go through with a purchase, without encountering any holdups or obstacles.

The good news is that plenty of e-commerce sites are actually living up to these expectations with close to two thirds of consumers saying that it is easier to find a bespoke retail experience on the web than it is on the high street.

The study received responses from both average shoppers and retail marketing experts revealing a significant divergence of opinion between these two groups on several matters. Many of the professionals felt that bricks and mortar stores offered better personalisation opportunities for the shopping experience while also placing much more emphasis on the weight of branding as opposed to pure site design excellence.

While it may seem like marketers are merely out of touch with what the public want, it is more likely that the consumers questioned were playing down the relevance of brands without realising just how much their shopping habits are influenced by them. So if webmasters want to boost sales then it seems like a combination of well-designed sites and strong branding can help to make this goal achievable.