It is a normal thing to do research before making large purchases, such as a home, life insurance or even an automobile. However, it now turns out that consumers do research even before they purchase everyday things, such as clothes, music CDs, electronics, books, movie DVDs and even groceries. With the advent of technology and access to internet, just about every other consumer today does a thorough research before he buys any commodity be it personal or for home use. This is why its important for small businesses to make sure they are beating out big brands by maintaining presence on social media platforms, product blogs, and opening themselves up to review platforms.
Consumers Research Products OnlineAccording to a report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PDF), nearly 83 percent of consumers in the United States use the Internet to do research before everyday purchases. The report titled “Understanding How U.S. Online Shoppers are Reshaping the Retail Experience” also states that 80 percent of consumers around the globe do online research before heading to a store to make a purchase and about 73 percent consumers from the U.S. do online research before they buy things such as clothes, shoes, toys, beauty products and health products. And they buy these items from stores, usually. This is an indication that consumers have become aware that they can get great deals and can save money if they do their research.
Multichannel ShoppingToday, consumers are more savvy and use multiple channels to do shopping. Unlike the previous generation that did most of its shopping in traditional brick and mortar stores and shops, consumers today are shopping online, in brick and mortar stores, via TV shopping networks and through catalogs. Basically consumers are shopping where they can get a better deal and great discount, be it online, traditional stores or TV shopping networks.
Better Deals and DiscountsConsumers are no longer ashamed to ask for discounts, use discount coupons or take advantage of promotions. With the popularity of online coupons apps like Groupon or ValPak mobile coupons, consumers are able to find deals while at the store deciding on which product to buy. The availability for a discount is sometimes the deciding factor in these situations. Earlier, this trend was seen mostly in the lower income bracket and few households in the middle income bracket. This change has been attributed to the touch economy, reduced job security and, too, companies getting smarter about the deals they offer. As a result, consumers are looking for value without compromising on quality.
During and right after the Great Depression, American consumers had cultivated a savings mentality, which gradually eroded with time. Now that tough economic circumstances are back, it is forcing people to do a more thorough online and offline research and buy everyday products with the idea of maximizing their savings while getting outstanding value for the money they spend. As a result, retailers, marketers and manufacturers also are shifting the way they attract their customers. Today, the focus is on proving superior value rather than competing on prices. This is helping retailers and marketers retain their customers and also attract new customers.
The FutureWith consumers becoming more aware of pricing and quality, the trend to do research before buying everyday items will continue. Consumers will favor those stores, offline and online, which can help them save money without affecting the quality of the product. And, the only way that consumers can find stores that offers value for money without charging exorbitant prices is by doing research.
Also, consumers may go for impulse purchases when they come across deals that are too good to pass over. This can happen even when they do not need the item immediately. The fact that they can save money and still get a good item is motivation enough for consumers to go ahead with the purchase.