Internet's Savvy Consumers
The internet as a tool has been around for over 2 decades now, since its inception and popularisation. In this period it has made its transition from being the “new” medium to being the most popular communication medium of choice. Which is not without cause either. The internet is able to provide its users with something that currently no other medium can; interact-ability. Television and Print both as mediums of communication have huge outreach and engagement but a very limited scale of interaction. And while brands have often shield away from entering the digital world, the world of consumers accepted the internet with their arms wide open.
Today the internet has become an integral part of the organic purchase cycle for an average consumer in most parts of the world. According to a research conducted by Google; as much as 35% of shoppers today use their phones while in offline stores to compare prices of the products on offer. And in the case of online shopping, up to 97% of users read peer customer reviews before making a purchase. This reflects a very pivotal turn in the purchase behaviour of the masses at large, adding another step called ‘research’ in the purchase cycle.
For decades industries have banked upon appealing to the emotion of the consumers so as to be a valued purchase, but with the internet in play, along with doing so, brands now have to comply to the needs of logical and analytical consumers. In simple words, the “Grahak” has awoken and is demanding answers.
This is one of the primary reasons why marketers are often reluctant in their digital efforts, regarding the internet as ‘unpredictable’. In contrary, markets and purchase trends have only become ever so predictable with the introduction of the internet. With the use of internet as a marketing tool, personalized and targeted communications can be made while also course correcting and troubleshooting with the feedback data , which also ironically is accessible only through the internet.
The only challenge that brands now face is, communicating with a dynamic audience that is well informed. To achieve the same, brands have been making use of traditional mediums, but unsurprisingly again, the internet proves to be a far more effective choice of medium. And some of the ways employed by brands today include but are not limited to;
Online customer service
Customer service online, makes use of the primary USP of the internet; it’s interact-ability. By becoming an entity that is available for interaction, brands help create a general positive mandate around themselves and in turn around the products they are offering.
E-commerce is not only an easy way of purchase, it is also one of the most customizable purchase experiences thus, becoming a tool for brands to either extend their customers positive brand experience, or to create a new digital customer base altogether.
Online Ad space
Unlike offline ads, with the help of online ads, brands can trace the consumer’s journey, in their purchase process. This data can then be used to target and re-target consumers, resulting in a performance driven ad campaign, which is complete unheard of in traditional advertising.
Social media has over time has evolved into more than sites to share information. Social media today can be described as a complete virtual experience, with peer to peer information sharing, market places, instant gratification of human desires and brand representations in the form of the brands Social media ‘presence’.
Integration of the internet in the array of tools used by brands to market themselves for several years has been delayed and for several years, we’ve heard from marketing pundits that the ‘digital wave’ is arriving, but now that it is here in all its measure, only a few have had their sails ready.