The rise in technology and improvement in mobile devices has immensely changed the way shoppers shop. In the U.S., almost 60 percent of consumers with internet access, shop online every month, of which 80 percent have complete satisfaction with their online shopping experience. Retail businesses like clothing, accessories, groceries, and drugs, along with every other e-commerce industry, are getting online. As online shopping is gaining popularity, entrepreneurs must perceive consumer expectation and their buying patterns. So, read on to know more about online shopping and consumer buying habits.
What is Online Shopping?
Online shopping is the method of shopping where customers use multiple devices like desktops, smartphones, or tablets, to make a purchase. The main attraction of online shopping is consumers can shop a wide variety of items like shoes to cruise booking. It gives customers a range of choices, information, cost, and time flexibility. However, technology is changing the way modern shoppers use e-commerce. Therefore, to stay on top of a business's online game, entrepreneurs must analyze and study the online buying patterns of customers.
What is an Online Buying Pattern?
Online buying Pattern is the behavior of a buyer while spending, purchasing, or disposing of a commodity. It depends on various factors such as product quality, ease of navigation, shipping, return policy, and sale. While making an online purchase, consumers go through multiple steps. The study of this online buying pattern helps to comprehend a consumer's ways of exploring a product and deciding. It also allows marketers to understand the fundamental questions of product consumption.
It is normally assumed that the only goal of marketing is to sell commodities to generate profit. This approach used to work earlier, but today, consumers are much informed about products, and they are spoiled with a lot of choices online, which makes it challenging to attract and sell a product or service.
To sell a product, marketers must research and study online customer buying patterns to attract them.
Read on to know more about the significance of online buying patterns.
1. Consumer Retention
One of the primary purposes of studying buying patterns is to retain old clients and connect with new customers. When a consumer likes a product, he/she will repurchase the product. Therefore, marketers should promote the product in a manner that their existing customers stay loyal to the brand.
How studying online buying patterns increases consumer retention?
The marketing approach can only be made after studying the user's philosophy while deciding to shop. The product details on the website have a significant impact on the buying decision. Therefore, maintaining up-to-date merchandise description will assist in higher customer retention. Once a customer has ordered products from the same brand for a long time, it would be nice to make them feel special by adding some free samples or free trials as a reward for staying loyal to the business.
Studying the buying pattern lets a marketer curate and recommend products based on consumer's purchase history. It will increase customer retention, and the only way to implement it is by studying the online database.
An email marketing technique is an excellent way to connect with all old and new customers. Sending a personalized mail to customers after their purchase with greetings and thank-you notes shows that the company cares for them. Additionally, keeping the customers engaged by sending them miss-you posts, holidays, and birthday emails is a good way of retaining them.
Other than these methods, there are other techniques also, such as customer-service, free-delivery, or return policies, which make a significant impact on the customer retention rate.
Therefore, to understand which strategy works best for each business, studying online buying patterns is essential.
2. Marketing Strategies
Having internet space benefits every business, provided they utilize it strategically. For instance, a well-developed website might not attract customers if not marketed well. It requires dedication and tactics to reach out to new and old consumers using online marketing techniques. For a marketer to build a strategically designed marketing campaign, it is crucial to understand the online buying pattern.
Online marketing uses social media and other online platforms to attract people to buy various products and services. Each advertising campaign must be able to influence the target audience. According to Salesforce, customer expectations have changed in the last few years. Earlier customers looked for quality service and fair pricing, but now consumers expect the businesses to conjecture their needs and desires. Almost 84 percent of the customers say that personalization is a major element for them to like a business.
Importance of studying online buying pattern to improve marketing strategies:
Studying online buying patterns lets a marketer strike the right chords of a consumer, like what motivates them towards purchasing a product. Understanding the motive enables a marketer to design a campaign surrounding the target audience's behavior. Additionally, the same advertising campaign can be used in different marketing platforms to grow people's desire to make a purchase.
There is a cutthroat competition between online retailers to stay on top of their e-commerce industry. Carefully studying the competitor's website is also a part of an online buying pattern. Monitoring online marketing used by the competitors helps in formulating your marketing strategy. It lets a marketer understand customer behavior, such as:
- Are your clients purchasing from your competitors?
- What made your customers go for their products?
- What is making your shoppers unhappy?
How studying online buying patterns improves marketing strategies?
Studying online buying patterns lets a marketer better understand their competition. One gets to learn what business practices are working and what to avoid. An in-depth analysis will save a lot of time for a marketer by not repeating competitors' mistakes and using the learning to promote one's own business.
Understanding competitor's marketing strategies is incomplete without talking about keywords and backlinks. One of the reasons your customer going to your competitor might be due to higher page ranks. By doing backlink research of your competitor, you can leverage them to boost your website rankings. Companies can also hire white label link-building agency to build backlinks for websites, which will increase website traffic and page ranks. Besides, studying online buying patterns helps in content marketing by analyzing the competitor’s best-performing content. Getting insights from a competitor's blog helps in writing content that will gain customers' interest in your website.
Therefore, studying online buying patterns prepares you for a competition based on consumer demand and improves your SEO strategies.
4. Customer Service Improvements
A product or service quality is not the only thing that influences the sale. Customer service plays a crucial role in any successful business. In the last few years, customer service has evolved, and there are four main types of service: phone support, live chat support, email, and live chat. Different customers prefer different types of interaction; what works for one might not work for others. Studying online buying patterns helps in comprehending the expected and desired level of customer interaction and offering them an unanticipated level of service as per individual needs.
Phone calling is a crucial part of every business. According to a survey conducted by Clutch, most people who call with an issue like billing or internet connection expect the customer service person to help them solve their issue. Another survey showed that voice services are beneficial for customers looking to learn about a product and to schedule an appointment.
Why study online buying patterns?
Studying these surveys helps gain repeat customers and new customers, which can increase sales. It helps a business understand where it is lagging in the customer service department. This way, business is prepared to handle any issue with the right answering tool.
5. Innovate New Products
Innovating new products and services is another factor that impresses customers to return to business again and again. Big companies like Colgate, Coke, and Nike have survived in the business for a long time, mostly because they keep innovating new products based on customer demands. But most times, the new product may fail to impress the customers.
How Studying Online Buying Pattern helps in innovation:
Studying online buying patterns lets a business understand what a consumer is looking for. Brands that provide better quality attract consumers.
According to a 2015 survey, almost 84 percent of online buyers say that it is inherent for them to buy from an innovative company. Innovation has a significant impact on the buying choice of a consumer. They are willing to purchase and spend more from an innovative company.
The survey clearly shows why studying online shopping patterns is necessary for innovation, planning new products, or adding new traits to existing products. Analyzing the competitor's products also allows creating innovative products. It is an excellent way to differentiate a business from its competitors.
The study of online buying habits can point to a transformation in the market trend. For instance, people these days are shifting to healthier eating choices. Many companies observed this trend and started innovating and releasing healthy food and beverages or healthy alternatives to junk foods.
Conducting a study on people's online shopping habits lets a company properly allocate the resources to make products that will sell out. It helps a company in framing its production strategy and efficiently manage warehouse and marketing costs.
So, these are the reasons why companies and marketers must spend time studying online behavior. It helps comprehend the customer mindset and the drives behind the pattern, which, in turn, helps increase profitability.
Studying online behavior can make a difference between industry outliers and the average companies in that industry. Therefore, if you are running your e-commerce business and wondering why sales are not going up, it might be time to revisit your customers' online buying patterns.