Recently, I became a father and with that came a bunch of new purchases; changing tables, bath toys, strollers…this was all new to me. Each new item brought a new set of buying requirements (mostly from my wife). I didn’t know we needed a certain diaper type for night time, or that a stroller had to be easy to turn and collapse (that is key, actually!). I was merely going off of the experiences of our friends, basing my buying decisions on recommendations and price.
Then we started shopping for baby furniture; now this was up my alley. I knew that I wanted elements like dovetail joints, cedar interiors, easy glide drawer mechanisms and an adjustable mattress height. I was focused, direct and knew exactly what we needed to make sure our little one got the perfect furniture for her room. It had to be well constructed, safe, fashionable, and good value.
So what was different? I changed from a shopper making purchases based on brand, to a consumer focused on individual elements of an individual product. These elements, commonly referred to as attributes or features, became the main focus of my shopping experience.
That got me thinking, how do brands compete when attributes are a prominent purchasing factor? I identified four components: price, brand quality/loyalty, ratings and reviews, and quality content.
Price – 90% of smartphone shoppers (Google In-store Mobile Research Study ) conduct pre-shopping activities before making a purchase decision, and price comparison & promotions are a primary component of that research (44% of Shoppers do this before even going to a store). I am one of the 44% as I look for the best deal I can, but will pay for quality. How do I determine quality? Partly by evaluating the product attributes. If a furniture piece is made of solid wood with construction like dovetail joints, I will pay more than if the same item was made out of particle board and glue.
Brand Quality/Loyalty – If you ask me which grocery store I shop at, I have one. If you ask me if I have a preferred laundry detergent, I have one. If you asked me 7 months ago if I had a preferred diaper, my answer would have been, aren’t they all the same? Turns out I am a diaper snob. I will only buy a specific brand because of the experiences I have had. I recognize and will seek out that brand, and have become fiercely loyal. However this outcome was subject to chance, and could be rattled rather quickly with a single bad experience. Branding, and the specific elements around the brand are all key in making sure I know the products I am buying will meet the expectations I have of the brand.
Ratings & Reviews – I, like the majority of shoppers, want to hear what others have to say about a product before I buy. Is the finish cheap? Was it hard to install? Do I need a PHD in engineering to put it together? Ratings & Reviews have become a critical component of a buyer’s journey. While some reviews are subjective based on the reviewers skill, location, or experience, I have noticed a growing trend; reviewer feedback is largely based on the quality of the product information, or the lack thereof. For example, a review will state that it would have been nice to know that the furniture legs were adjustable for easy leveling, another that it was great to know the tools needed for installation so they were ready to put the product together when it arrived. Reviews are highlighting specific attributes of the product as important to the purchasing decision, as well as to overall satisfaction with the product.
Quality Content – During my furniture search, I found hundreds of dressers, cribs and nightstands, but only a handful made the cut to the final decision. The majority of those that didn’t make it were cut due to a lack of information on the product. If I didn’t know if the construction was going to be sturdy enough, or if the crib was a convertible, it was off the table. In some instances I found that information was wrong or misleading. For example, the image is of a white crib, but the product name says espresso; some assemble required is marked “no”, but the item was shipped in 4 boxes. These specific attributes of the product were driving my purchasing decision, and if missing or incorrect, resulted in elimination from consideration.
Each of these areas have tie-ins to attributes, and that begs the question, how can a brand owner provide the biggest impact in the Omni-Channel space? The answer, build a scalable digital content quality program.
A scalable digital content quality program can ensure consistent accuracy across the enterprise, benefit top line growth, and provide increased brand recognition and overall consumer satisfaction. It also mitigates the end-consumer’s concerns and the need for additional content.
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