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Is impulse buying a thing of the past?
It sure looks that way, according to “The Long and Winding Road: the Gamesmanship of Shopping,” Yahoo’s new study on the path to purchase, which has found that consumers are increasingly going online to evaluate their options, socialize and get the best possible deal. In fact, the research reveals that the process of leveraging digital tools, particularly websites, is now as impactful as a sales associate.
“The Gamesmanship of Shopping” has found that the process is far more fun and akin to a game for consumers. Now, consumers discover, evaluate and socialize information along the path to purchase, generating a restored energy to shopping. Furthermore, because consumers are more interested than ever in becoming smart, savvy shoppers, the impulse buy has been diminished with 55 percent of survey participants saying they are less impulsive when shopping. Marketers and advertisers must understand this newfound “gamesmanship of shopping” in order to strategically insert themselves into the game, the study asserted.
Key findings included the following:
- The Internet is a trusted and informative source
- Shoppers are less impulsive: 55% of study participants said the Internet has made them less impulsive
- Shopping is social: 49% of consumers give advice to others, motivated by a feeling of solidarity with other shoppers
- It’s “cool” to find good deals: 82% of consumers said that finding a great deal on a product contributed most to the feeling of winning, and 60% mentioned the competitive aspect of shopping
Yahoo asserted the study results have the following implications for marketers:
- Marketers should contribute to the social ecosystem by becoming part of the conversation. Leverage a brand as a contributing member of third-party communities (e.g., fan page, micro-site, etc.) to create a more personal and authentic relationship with customers.
- Create reward systems that deliver the “consumer win” by making the consumer feel special, such as tailoring deals to their expressed interests and encouraging viral sharing.
- Marketers don’t necessarily need to be considered a consumer’s “friend,” but should leverage the right media to aid consumers – like expert reviews. Trusted sites perform better.
- Online sources influence purchases just as much as, if not more than, offline sources so it’s important to make sure a brand is integrated in the online experience.
- As shoppers use digital tools to gather info and narrow down options, a brand’s presence doesn’t need to be purely rational; it can and should delight emotionally.