No one, whether consumer or business buyer, wants to buy “a pig in a poke”. Today, the Internet makes it easy to develop at least a basic understanding of what you need, how to set your purchasing priorities and what risks you should be aware of. It also gives you the opportunity to speak out about your results.
The Pew Research Center, a non-partisan, non-profit “fact tank” that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world, recently published a study on American e-commerce habits. Amongst its findings:
- 58% of Americans do on-line research on the products/services they are interested in.
- If you count only regular Internet users, that number is 78%.
- On any given day, 21% of US adults conduct on-line research.
And sharing her opinion…
Potential customers don’t just read about products and services online. More and more people share their opinions about products and services, particularly via social networks. 24% of American adults say they’ve posted comments about a purchase they’ve made. And, whether the final purchase takes place over the web, in a store or face to face with a tough-as-nails salesman, it is almost always preceded by serious – and often extensive – on-line research. Buyers are not stupid!
The same statistics apply practically everywhere on-line access is available and, although Internet penetration is much greater in developed countries, population volumes compensate in the developing world. This makes the Internet, and the social media it stimulates, a force to be reckoned with for any marketer worthy of his name.
Click here for the study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.