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