Brands are still an important influence on online consumers, according to a new study by AOL and the Henley Centre.
However, the research also asserts that customers are becoming less loyal to brands as a result of their online experience.
The study highlights the importance of customer research - 74% of online consumers actively research online before buying, while 76% feel that the internet allows them to make more informed decisions.
The most trusted sources of information were:
- Search engines - 71%
- Personal recommendations - 67%
- Retailer's websites - 57%
- Price comparison websites - 56%
- Online reviews by experts - 50%
The study indicates that the amount of information available on the web makes it more likely that customers will switch brands - 42% of consumers have switched between firms as a result.
Brands still have a lot of influence though - 80% said they preferredto buy online from brands and retailers they were familiar with.
The research also delved into other influences on purchase decisions, with some interesting results:
- Trust in the website's abilty to keep details safe - 88%
- Delivery prices being clear - 87%
- Usability of the website - 85%
- Ability to check order status - 78%
- Being able to take products back to offline store - 66%
- Ability to access customer reviews - 48%
As for advertising, 51% of consumers said they would pay more attention to an ad on a site they trusted.
Consumers who research online spend more offline - report