The internet, mobile phones, and Youtube have changed the way people shop for goods and services by giving them direct access to things they need. This has caused a shift in the way companies conduct market research to get a better understanding of their consumers. The importance of traditional research is being usurped by online analytics, blogs, and feedback from social media sites.
The power of these three sources of information is undeniable but what do they tell us about the future? And how can we use this knowledge about our customers to better serve them? In this article, I will explore some of the most interesting trends in consumer behavior as well as provide some insights on how you can use these findings to improve your business outcomes.
What are the most interesting trends in consumer behavior?
A recent study conducted by Nielsen found that 90% of consumers are influenced by online reviews and they trust recommendations from people they know than the most prominent advertisements. It is also worth noting that 79% of people who read online reviews will purchase a product or service.
These figures tell us that most customers rely on internet sources for their needs. The same study found that 72% of customers are willing to spend more with companies that offer great customer service and they want fast, easy access to your company during all hours of the day.
A recent study conducted by Ipsos MediaCT found that 91% of television viewers trust recommendations from their online peers than advertisements or celebrity endorsements. Another interesting statistic was that only 43% of TV viewers have ever discussed a program on social media, but 88% of them would do so if they were given the opportunity.
How can you use these findings to improve your business outcomes?
Most companies are aware of this new trend in consumer behavior and they are shifting their focus to online sources for information and insight about their customers. According to a study conducted by Forrester, companies that monitor and analyze online mentions of their brands can increase their market share up to 3%.
Although this method is relatively new, it has been successfully applied by some of the leading brands such as Apple and Walmart.
How can we use this knowledge about our customers to better serve them?
If you are thinking about how to use this knowledge to benefit your business, consider the following:
1. Respond immediately – If you see a negative comment on any of your social media networks, be sure to respond as quickly as possible so you can resolve the problem and avert a bigger backlash. Your customers will appreciate that you care enough to address their complaints and your response will improve your company’s image.
2. Get the context – Online reviews are often vague, leaving you to wonder who they are about or what product or service they were referring to. A good practice is to ask for more information but do not confront the reviewer directly because this can damage their credibility if their identity is revealed.
3. Use the information you acquire – If your research shows that there is a certain issue with one of your products or services, you can choose to change it or offer an alternative solution. Either way, future customers will appreciate your diligence in meeting their needs and they are more likely to remain loyal to your business because of it.
Why is online research becoming more important than traditional methods of market research?
Online research has several benefits over traditional research methods. Some of the more important ones include:
– Online surveys provide accurate data because they are more difficult to manipulate than face-to-face interviews. People will often answer questions in a way that makes them look more favourable, especially if they know their answers can be traced back to them.
– Online surveys can be answered in the comfort of your own home and they give respondents more time to think about their answers because they are not being pressured by a stranger or during an inconvenient time, such as when you’re eating dinner. People may also respond less guardedly online than in person because their identities remain anonymous.
– Online surveys are less expensive to administer than other research methods. There is no need for interviewers or venues to pay, which saves you money in the long run.
– Online surveys are more convenient because they can be done at any time of day by just about anyone with internet access. People also answer these surveys faster so you save on overall administration.
What does the future hold for companies that do not adapt to these changes in how people shop and consume information?
If companies do not adapt to these changes, they are likely to witness a loss in market share as their customers turn to online sources for information. They have to keep up with the times because people are less likely to trust traditional advertisements or company websites that lack credibility. For example, an ad on TV may be entertaining but people will still check out online reviews before they decide whether to buy the product or not.
What are some of the limitations of online research?
The following are some of the limitations associated with this form of market research:
– It is difficult to control for biases in studies because you cannot monitor what participants do when you are not looking at their screen.
– It can be hard to tell if participants are being truthful in online surveys because you have no way of knowing what they do when they leave the computer.
– Online surveys are not suitable for all research situations. For example, asking intimate or personal questions may be uncomfortable for respondents so it is better to use traditional methods of market research in those cases.
– It can be difficult to compare results from online surveys to those from traditional market research because different studies have different methodologies and questions.
Online research has several advantages over traditional market research methods. Not only is it more convenient and time-saving, but it also gives companies a better understanding of their customer base without having to rely on any third party. In the future, companies that don’t use online research will experience a decline in their market share as consumers turn to online sources for not only information but also for purchasing decisions.