A new study examining the ways consumers research and buy things online shows that they are quite sophisticated in their efforts and they use a variety of tools to do their homework and find the best price. The opinions of others seem a key factor in buying decisions. In addition, Facebook remains a driving force, but may not be used to its full potential by brands.
The study looked at the buying and research habits of 1,000 consumers and attempted to analyze which types of online content—such as product reviews and ratings—actually influence buying decisions. Amazon.com was cited as a starting point for consumer research, with 60 percent of survey respondents saying they use it first to check prices and reviews.
Other key findings include:
- 75 percent of online shoppers say they take a day or more to research their purchases, and that research takes up three-quarters of their shopping time.
- Consumers start their research with a search engine or at a retailer’s website.
- Customer reviews have a significant impact on buying decision, affecting 90 percent of shoppers.
- 60 percent of online shoppers say customer reviews are the most important factor in their research.
Social media presents a growth area
The survey revealed that:
- One-third of consumers use social media for research
- Social media users say they have “liked” a brand or product, but only 25 percent have done this on a business’s Facebook page.
- The majority say they use Facebook business pages only to get deals.
Shoppers use mobile for best price
- Mobile phones are used by one-third of survey respondents to check on coupons, price, ratings and reviews of a product while inside an actual store.
- Scan technology such as QR or bar codes on mobile phones is being used by one-third of shoppers in the survey. They use it to get product information and reviews.