Evolving customer expectations

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The pre-purchase tools and insights consumers rely on in-store are not the same ones they need to make a purchase online. Manufacturers must relearn what their customers want in the digital age and plan their web experiences accordingly.

Insight 1: Product information and reviews take the spotlight

As you can see in the charts below, even as traditional purchase influencers continue to play an outsized role in the digital experience—such as WOM at 36.83 percent—retail and manufacturer websites are now expected to do much of the heavy lifting in both collecting and organizing the referrals and information that consumers need.

Product information or reviews on a retailer’s website are considered the most important factor in an online purchase decision (37.85 percent). In fact, six of the top seven factors all come directly from the product pages found on a manufacturer or retailer website.

As you can see in the charts below, even as traditional purchase influencers continue to play an outsized role in the digital experience—such as WOM at 36.83 percent—retail and manufacturer websites are now expected to do much of the heavy lifting in both collecting and organizing the referrals and information that consumers need.

Product information or reviews on a retailer’s website are considered the most important factor in an online purchase decision (37.85 percent). In fact, six of the top seven factors all come directly from the product pages found on a manufacturer or retailer website.

Insight 2: Most manufacturer websites don't meet consumer standards

At the heart of the purchase decision, price remains one of the most critical considerations before a consumer chooses to buy or pass on a product. As the availability of products continues to expand across retailers, resellers, brand websites, and more, price inconsistencies have become a frustrating part of the online search process. More than 60 percent of consumers in this survey reported finding inconsistent product pricing on manufacturer websites compared to retailer sites. In many cases, respondents indicated they were able to access cheaper prices when they shopped for a product from a retailer. Consistency issues like these can slowly erode consumer trust—and they actively discourage users from visiting your branded website.

But inconsistent content/pricing is just the beginning of the problem. When consumers do visit manufacturer websites, many reported encountering a host of other issues, with each further jeopardizing the chances of driving a new sale. Some frequently cited website issues include:

  • Lack of delivery/return information
  • Out-of-stock products
  • Poor user experiences.

To begin to address these challenges, website administrators must monitor users’ experiences looking for pain points, and they need to continue to evolve their content offerings and accessibility standards to reflect expectations. The right mix of website analytics and performance metrics represents a key starting point for identifying the issues holding back branded websites.

As a starting point, here are a few of the top features, based on survey data, that site administrators should prioritize first as they strategize the path forward: