I will start by stating the obvious. Most of us if not all of us buy goods and services online. How we make buying decisions is not that different from the offline, storefront world, with a few exceptions. For example, if I see a colourful poster in the store window with a James Bond looking guy in a cool leather jacket, I may contemplate buying that jacket right before I actually step in to the store, locate the jacket on the rack, and look at the price tag. Hmm...
Now, online, when you search for something, and see relevant ads, note, "relevant", you may start thinking about a product or service, including it's benefits and price. Oh, wait, you are also capable of getting all the necessary information to support you buying decision, including pricing, specifications, user reviews, etc., at your own pace without being attacked by an army of sales folks (no pun intended, my dear sales folks) at the store. In addition, as you navigate away from the original search results, smart folks at Google and smart advertisers get busy with "remarketing". Basically, the product or service ads follow you from that point forward reminding that you were interested in a product or service, probably liked it, though something may have been missing since you have not yet made a decision to purchase.
Last Sunday, I had a great discussion with a good friend David as he showed me his brand new wallet. The wallet was somewhat unique. It had a very slim profile, however, somehow fit a significant number of cards, bills and also change spotting an invisible change pocket. The leather was also high quality and soft to the touch, and according to David, it come with RFID protection, protecting your cards from being scanned and "copied" by criminals. Cool, right?
David instantly asked me to guess the price, and based on quality and features, I guessed between $250-$300. In reality, he paid slightly over $100 online, and considered it to be a great deal given how functional the wallet was.
Since I knew that he bought it online, my inner marketer asked David to describe the purchase process, and he was more than happy to oblige. Originally, he started looking for a new wallet about 3-4 months ago. Having searched online, he noticed a few ads corresponding to this one particular brand, and, decided to go and check out more options at the store. On top of it, he was getting ready to go on a business trip to Europe, and was convinced that he will find a great wallet along the way. As you've already guessed, he did not find what he was looking for during the trip. In the meantime, he forgot the brand that he noticed and liked online, and searched again using similar, but not the same keywords, and bingo, the ad from the same brand was right in front of him. It only took a few minutes to complete the purchase.
What we learned is that this particular brand was knowledgeable and sharp when it came to online advertising, especially understanding what works and what does not. If you are currently advertising online and don't see the results you've expected, push your folks or the agency harder. Ask the right questions prior to burying the project in disappointment. For example, have they implemented remarketing, if yes, ask for the remarketing performance reports. Ask if they A/B test the landing pages and split test the ads. If the answer is yes, ask for performance reports. This way, you'll understand your online customers much better without any additional investment, and will be able to tailor your products and services in the way that allows you to grow. Analytics is key, and getting your hands on the right data at the right time is truly priceless.
Remember, most online advertising campaigns are either poorly managed, or not managed at all. Make sure that you always select the right staff, agency or partner to support your online success.
An Anatomy of One Online Purchase
ReputationMart.com - passionate digital marketing team.