Despite the ease and availability of online purchasing, consumers still prefer to have a hands-on experience when it comes to consumer electronic products.
According to research from communications agency Citizen Relations, nearly two-thirds (66%) of U.S. consumers are conducting online research about products before buying them in a brick-and-mortar retail setting. The reasons for purchasing in-store included: wanting to see and feel the product (61%), avoiding online shipping fees (47%) and the immediate gratification of having the product in-hand (46%).
“People still want that ‘touch-and-feel’ moment,” Erin Georgieff, managing director of the agency’s U.S. consumer technology practice, tells Marketing Daily. “I think the good news for retailers is there’s still that appetite for going into stores.”
Early adopters, however, are more willing to make a purchase online than so-called “Laggards,” Georgieff says. “[They] have much more of a trust in their own knowledge of technology,” she says.
Although only about a third of CE consumers are “showrooming” (researching products in-store before heading home to purchase online), a growing trend among consumers is what Georgieff called “mob-aisling,” i.e., using a mobile device to comparison shop for better specs and prices in the store. These consumers, the research found, were more likely to get a better deal in-store than even consumers who tried haggling, but didn’t have the research to back them up.
“As the ‘mob-aisling’ trend continues to rise, there is huge opportunity to more actively engage with consumers to simplify the process, whether that’s in-store or online,” Georgieff says. “CE producers need to make sure their brand is mobile ready, making sure the best deals are well-displayed and encouraging consumers to find that information.”
When it comes to product awareness, news and reviews and word-of-mouth drives initial awareness, followed by brand advertising. When it comes to additional research, the opinion of family and friends is of primary importance, followed by brand Web sites and expert reviews
Among the top considerations for new tech purchases were: good value for the money (60%), having features they need (50%) and good reviews and ratings (40%). So-called “laggards” also mentioned “easy to understand” as a top consideration (52%).