Online research drives the in-store consumer decision making process

Posted by Daryn on 26 March 2014 | Comments

       

Findings from a survey conducted by American company Wanderful Media reveal that 91% of shoppers have gone into a store as a result of an online experience.

The survey aimed to investigate how in-store shoppers interact with technology and how this behaviour affects the consumer decision making process. The answer: more than you might initially think.

91% of shoppers have gone into a store as a result of an online experience.

If you’ve been implementing an inbound marketing strategy, you’ll know that the modern consumer decision making process is largely driven by independent, online research.  As such, this statistic shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.

Gone are the days when consumers walked into retail stores without doing some independent research on the product they’re after beforehand. The salesperson is no longer seen as a useful source of information. Instead, they’re viewed with a degree of suspicion and most consumers feel the need to arm themselves with solid, unbiased information to avoid having the wool pulled over their eyes by a commission-hungry in-store salesperson.

It’s worth noting that this isn’t the case with every single purchase consumers make. People aren’t likely to research bread and milk options before popping in at the local corner shop to pick up a few necessities. For most significant purchases, however – such as technology, software and motor vehicle purchases – online research is a given.

Email is the most common prompt that sends consumers into stores.

The ‘online experiences’ that drive consumers into stores could include a host of different online marketing materials. However, the survey showed that most often, people decided to visit a store after receiving an email of some sort.

This highlights how important lead nurturing is in influencing the consumer decision making process. Effective lead nurturing programmes implement intelligent buyer journeys that send leads emails based on their online behaviour. Knowing more or less how long the consumer decision making process takes for your specific product is crucial to getting lead nurturing right. 

Let’s imagine that you know that when it comes to roller-skates, the consumer decision making process usually takes one week. Then, when your marketing automation technology detects that a lead is looking at a website product page showcasing roller-skates, you can enter them into a week-long lead nurturing programme that sends them relevant emails at predetermined intervals.

If the week is almost up and they haven’t become a customer yet, you can then send them an email offering a 24-hour special deal on roller-skates, prompting them to come into the store to make a purchase. 

77% of shoppers research products online while they’re shopping in-store.

In anything’s going to drive home how important independent, online research is to the modern consumer decision making process, this stat has got to be it. Even when consumers are already in your store, a whopping 77% of them still access the internet to do some independent research on the products they’re thinking of buying.

This means that you simply can’t rely on having a good salesperson with the gift of the gab on the floor anymore. Most consumers simply won’t buy without doing online research beforehand. This means that you absolutely need to ensure that your online marketing strategy includes the creation of strategic, interesting and educational content. Otherwise, you could end up losing potential customers – who are already standing in your shop – to competitors who simply have better digital content creation strategies than you do.

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Author: Daryn Smith

Image credit: New Media and Marketing

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