Bob's Blog

How People Buy

Buyers - whether consumers or part of an organisation - often research online before making any purchase decision. OK so this isn't ground-breaking news, but it does have significant impact on marketing. There's three key areas to consider:

  1. It impacts buyer attitudes to being sold to
  2. It changes where people look for information
  3. It demands attention to the level and quality of information made available online

The impact on attitudes to being sold to means that marketers need to find new ways to get the attention of potential buyers. In the consumer world the flavour of the month is social media, games to play and competitions to enter. For the business buyer we're still looking at contact lists, email newsletters and ensuring that your products can be found online. In neither case is the telemarketer particularly welcome any more. 

There's also still the good old-fashioned postal mail - a bit more expensive than all this online stuff, but a well constructed letter or mail piece can still have great impact and results.

People will often do research about a new product or service online. This means that you need to cover the fundamentals - is the information on your website up to date, engaging and modern? Are you responding to messages online, whether they're via email or social media? Are you looking online yourself to see how you stack up against the competition when you perform searches like your customers do?

And secondary to how people find information, how do they buy? Personally, I wouldn't buy a pair of shoes online, but I probably would do some initial research to see which retailers stock the kind of shoes I'm interested in. However, light bulbs - that's easy - just find the right specifications at the lowest price and it's straight in to the online basket.

The quantity and quality of information you have online is critical to success. If your website looks old, doesn't work too well on a mobile device, and doesn't answer all the questions your customer is asking, then they're going to try to find an alternative elsewhere. However, if you provide all the information, tips, advice, and what else to think about, then you're several steps closer to locking people in to a sale.

If there's one overall piece of advice - think like your customer, then look at what you've got online.