Shoppers Saving Time and Money

 

{mosimage}Before we "shop ‘til we drop," we search.  Whether due to high gas prices, shrinking personal time, or the Internet's daily inclusion in our lives, a recent study revealed that over 90 percent of adults regularly research products, services, and brands online before buying them. We might say shoppers are saving two critical life elements  - time and money - by spending some pre-shopping time online. 

Research To Purchase Facts

Adults Who Regularly Search Before Purchase

92 percent

Electronics

50.8 percent search before this purchase

Apparel

31.9 percent search before this purchase

Appliances

27.0 percent search before this purchase

Source RAMA - Retail Advertising And Marketing Association

 

It is a business fact of life, there is a direct relationship between purchase and web research. If the decision process was a race track, a company's ability to get the prospective customer interested enough to go to the Web for more information would be the starting flag. The second lap is Web research, the gathering of information online. Lap three is the social networking phase of a decision, where we add in the opinions of friends.  The finish line is the decision or purchase.

Choosing the single best communication for reaching your customer is no longer possible. The communication lines have blurred.  Business communication is not one size fits all. Businesses are rediscovering that effective advertising in traditional media like magazines, television, and newspapers is still likely to cause the customer to move to the Web for more information. Ensuring that your future customer can find what they are looking for regarding your product, service, or brand should be a top priority. 

Although online advertising is an excellent resource, it can limit your options when it is your only resource.  Four out of ten said they were most motivated to begin an online search after seeing an advertisement in traditional media. Coupons and promotions are also effective in stimulating the web research phase (Phase II). If the product is most likely to be purchased by women, coupons and promotions - whether delivered via the mail box or the in box - will regularly result in web research. What about word-of-mouth advertising? A conversation is more likely to send men than women to the web for additional information (36.1 percent vs. 29.5 percent).

It takes repeated, relevant messages to get the customer's attention.  We are surrounded by daily examples of multiple media communications and options.  The American Idol television program represents at least four overlapping communication mediums.  In addition to stimulating interest in their advertisers' products, the show's producers want the viewer to do much more: view each episode, make multiple entertainment content purchases, and cast votes for a favorite contestant. The main message comes from a traditional media (the television program). The show's host repeatedly requests for the viewers to interact with the show by voting via phone or text messaging.  The purchase of entertainment content via the Internet is promoted throughout the program. Welcome to 2007 multi-media and multi-messaging.  

Many people will not be choosing a nonstop trip from the ad phase (I) to the research phase (II) and on to the finish line or purchase. They want to know what their friends and family think about the product, service. or brand that has recently come to their attention. For this group, the next lap in the race toward a decision is the validation or social networking phase (III).

This opinion gathering type of social networking was in existence hundreds of years before the Internet. Only the technology has changed.  Seven out of ten opinion gatherers will have a face-to-face conversation. Half of this group will also solicit opinions using email or phone. The choice of opinion communication mediums for this check it out with friends expands with the young adult age group.  With 18-24 year olds, opinion gathering resources regularly include instant messaging, text messaging, and gathering input through online communities like MySpace and Facebook.

What does it all mean? Web advertising is not the single solution for reaching customers in 2007. Traditional advertising vehicles like direct response, television, and magazines are also powering customers around the track toward a decision regarding a company's products, services, and brands.  The balance for businesses should be based on the cost of advertising versus the potential benefit to the company.  Regardless of your advertising choices, remember that most people will make a pit stop for web research; so get that part of your custom communications right - first.

© 2007 Resources Center Kamaron Press


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