By Rhonda Campbell
The fact that more consumers are accessing the Internet can present an artificial image of limitless cash flow to creative small business owners. It’s understandable.
Intelligent Consumers Researching Products Before Buying
As soon as you hear that millions of people reeve up their computers or mobile devices every day then log onto the Internet, it can be tempting to pull out a calculator, perhaps one of those fancy solar powered calculators designed with a LCD display, and start punching in numbers to figure out how many products you’ll sell before the end of the month. If you’re like me, your mind probably aims for the higher end.
Not bad. Thinking big has benefits. So too does facing reality.
And the reality is the business market is crowded. In fact, just as millions of intelligent consumers surf the Internet each day, searching for news, information, entertainment, relationships and products and services, there are also millions of businesses on the Internet. This, in part, may cause consumers to become more savvy, conduct more research before they plop down their money and buy products and services.
In fact, Retail Online Integration reported in its March 7, 2011 “Consumers Thinking Long and Hard Before Purchasing Online, Study Finds” article that, “Consumers are taking longer to make purchases online because they’re doing more and more research on products, according to a new study released today from customer acquisition firm NetElixir.” The study found that since 2008, the amount of time it took consumers to purchase products through a paid search ad rose by as much as 12 percent. Additionally, 52 percent consumers clicked over to another site, perhaps to research the products further, before they made a purchase. Two years ago only 30 percent of consumers moved away from a business or retail website before making a purchase.
Selling to Intelligent Buyers
Point blank. Consumers are sharp. It’s a reason you may consider attending workshops, seminars and training sessions to learn more about selling to intelligent buyers. Some workshop, seminars and training sessions are sponsored by industry associations, others are sponsored by local organizations. Colleges and universities also work with organizations to host these events. For example, Ohio State University offers a MarketReady training program that teaches business owners how to market and sell to restaurants and grocery stores.
The Federal Trade Commission offers workshops like “Ad it Up! Kids in a Commercial World” and “The Evolving IT Marketplace – The Remedies.” Several of the workshops are free. If you’re a member of professional associations, check with administrators to learn about upcoming selling to intelligent buyers or consumers workshops they’re offering.
Other steps you can take (in addition to attending workshops, seminars and training sessions) may also be free. Furthermore, you can start taking these steps today. These steps include:
• Adding product reviews to your website
• Asking customers for testimonials and adding the customer testimonials to your website
• Developing and adding research articles/brochures on products and services similar to yours on the market
• Compare the price of your products and services to competitors’; make the information available to consumers
Also, ask product review companies to test your business products and services and post the findings on their websites. For example, if you’re a book publisher you can ask book reviewers and book clubs to add reviews of your books to their websites.
The more information you give consumers about your products and services the more you may be viewed as a business owner who values others, someone who know more about selling to intelligent buyers. You may also build consumer confidence and trust in your business, an achievement that has a direct link to customer sales.
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http://www.retailonlineintegration.com/article/new-study-shows-consumers-thinking-long-hard-before-purchasing-online/1# (Retail Online Integration: Consumers Thinking Long and Hard Before Purchasing Online, Study Finds)