One vital factor to consider in this 21st Century world we find ourselves living in is that the process of making a buying decision has 1 HUGE difference about it that wasn’t widely available 20 years ago.
In this connected world of ours, the Internet is often the deciding factor between a shopper making a purchase and not making one.
You see, when it comes to the more important purchases in our lives, most people jump on the net and research the product/s they’re interested in first, before making a decision.
They want to know whether other buyers had good or bad experiences with the product. They also want to know if the company they are considering making the purchase from is legit and offers good or bad service… and lastly, they’re also hoping to find the best price.
When customers turn up to make a purchase these days, they often know as much about the product they’re buying as the sales person, if not more… and they’re much tougher when it comes to negotiating if they know they can get it from 3, 4 or even 5 alternative suppliers at a similar price.
Now, this doesn’t apply to ALL businesses – after all, most folks don’t research toothpaste on the net before they hit the supermarket – they just buy their favourite or whatever’s on special.
However, larger purchases (electronics, travel, cars, etc) often involve online time researching the purchase first. Then, the buyer heads off to the seller and, with some negotiation, the purchase is made.
Sometimes the item is ordered online, but many shoppers (at this stage) still research online but purchase offline.
By the way, it’s only going to get easier and easier for potential customers to access the Internet to do their product research as every day goes by.
Nearly all new-model mobile phones can easily surf the net, and you’d have to have been living under a rock for the last few years to have not heard of the Apple iPhone (for example).
There are a whole range of new phones entering the market now that compete against the iPhone, which means easy internet access will become so common that within a few years, 80-90% or higher of the population of Australia will be connected 24×7 to the net!
So, the takeaways here for business owners and managers are the following:
1) Customers are often very well informed about the pros and cons of your products (and your firm’s reputation in the marketplace) and how they compare to your competitor/s,
2) It’s easy to compare prices online,
3) If you’re not online putting forward your case about why people should buy from you, your competitors will be…
4) Even if you’re not internet-savvy, many of your clients are, so don’t discount its importance to your business now and in the future.
5) Lastly, internet access is getting easier and cheaper for ALL, which means it will be easier for potential clients to research you & your offerings, and make purchases online as well.
OK, chapter 5 is done. Next, I’m going to discuss SEO (Search engine optimisation)