Inbound

Where do consumers go to research product suitability?

November 26, 2019
Where do consumers go to research product suitability?

Jonathan Harrison

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Company Website

One of the first places consumers go to assess product suitability and finalise their purchasing decision is the website of the company that they intend to buy the product from. When a consumer is trying to decide if they want to buy a product, the company website is one of the first places they visit because this gives them the best chance to view all the product’s features and key selling points. Most modern company websites also have a product rating system and recommendations algorithm built in which enables the consumer to easily identify what other consumers have said about the product they wish to buy.

Furthermore, the company website is also a place where consumers go to research product suitability because the website lists the various features, specifications and key selling points of the product. This brings with it an opportunity for communications agencies to offer services to companies to help them optimise their websites to not only attract more traffic but the right type of traffic.

Social Media

Another place a consumer goes to in search of assessing products suitability is social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram and Twitter. One of the key reasons why consumers visit social media in trying to assess the suitability of a product is because these sites contain a lot of recommendations from family, friends and acquaintances. Furthermore, social media is a key place where consumers go to finalise their purchasing decision because it is a place where they can receive instant feedback from family and friends in terms of their decision. A modern consumer will use social media a lot when attempting to finalise their buying decision. To optimise this consumer traffic to their online social media assets, companies today have multiple engagements across all social media platforms. Communications agencies have expertise in social media content engagement to offer to brand’s social media platforms with an aim in engaging the target audience.

Price Comparison Websites

Another key place where consumers go to assess the suitability of a product is price comparison websites. MacLennon (2010) states that price comparison websites are primarily used by consumers who are in search of getting the best deal. Consumers often use price comparison websites based on the recommendation of a family member and/or friend who is trying to help them save money. Additionally,  consumers use price comparison websites to work out how they can get the cheapest deal on a product or service. Consumers who use these sites are not overly concerned with other product features such as quality or service delivery speed and are instead interested in price above all else.

Online search engines

A further place in which consumers go to assess the suitability of a product or service in relation to their needs and wants is search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. A search engine is the first-place consumers will go when trying to assess the suitability of a product or service and ultimately finalising their purchasing decision making process. Study conducted by the consumer barometer suggests that consumers will use search engines twice as much rather than going directly to a company’s websites which indicates that consumers don’t actually know the brand that they want they just use search engines to get informed before making a purchase

A focus on creating content which is personalised to brand’s direct target audiences is important to draw in new visitors to the websites. In fact, to facilitate and evolve with this change in how consumers are consuming online content for everyday reasons, in 2014 Google created a new algorithm Humming Bird to curate relevant content based on specific questions searchers will have. This indicates that buying Google Adwords to ensure your business proposition is found with keywords will no longer be the only way businesses can attract new website visitors in the future, they will also need a developed and relevant content/Inbound Marketing strategy to ensure Hummingbird ranks their organic content.

Research by SmartInsights, 2018 shows how in the previous year of 2017 46.8% of the global population accessed the Internet and by 2021 this figure is projected to grow to 53.7 hence increasing the number of people using search engines.

Conclusion

The key reason why so many consumers use search engines to assess the suitability of a product or service is because it is the quickest, easiest and most simple method of trying to find out information. The search engine represents the quickest, easiest and most simple method of product research for consumer because most modern, handheld mobile devices have an in- built Google search engine which consumers can use at the click of a button. Conversely, another key reason why consumer use search engines to research a product or service is because this is where they are likely to find out all the available information on that product or service.

There is no other online channel where a consumer can type in the name of a product or service and instantly receive such a large amount of information and/or content on that product or service.

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