New research from Salmat has found that Australian consumers are increasingly turning to technology - more specifically, Search engines - for recommendations, over their own friends and family.
Search engines topped the list of 23 channels that consumers use to make purchase decisions (49%), making it more influential than recommendations from friends and family which came in second (46%). The findings are from the third annual Salmat Marketing Report (SMR) which compares the behaviours of Australian marketers and consumers to give in-depth analysis and advice on marketing strategies.
Consumers are increasingly turning to technology for advice, over real people who they know and trust. The 26% decrease in consumers going to friends and family is a dramatic shift from 2017, when 72% of respondents chose to go to them before making a purchase.
Mismatch between marketer and consumer behaviour
Despite Search engines being the most influential channel for consumers, there is a mismatch between marketer investment and consumer behaviour – with only a quarter of marketers investing in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) (28% and 25% respectively) to reach their audience.
The SMR found that marketers are instead putting their money into social media, with over half (54%) of marketers investing in this channel in the last year. This is despite only one in four consumers (25%) saying they use social media as an information source for making purchase decisions.
Price counts for 70% of a purchase decision
Australian consumers are largely driven by price, and money is often the deciding factor for consumers when it comes down to their final purchase decision. In fact, consumers say that price counts for close to 70% of their purchase decisions. However, when asked about their top concerns when buying products, value for money came out on top (85%).
The research indicates that marketers are acutely aware of the role price plays in consumers’ purchase decisions and are discounting their products regularly - 26% are discounting weekly, and 28% discounting monthly. Given consumers' focus on value for money as their top concern, this presents an opportunity for marketers to stand out from the crowd by highlighting the value for money of their products.
In-store tech fails to connect
Clearly, technology is becoming more influential in the customer’s buying journey - but not all technology is equally influential. When shopping in-store, consumers are more inclined to use their own phone to go online to compare prices, find the best deal or access specific retailer apps (57%), or research product information (56%), rather than use the technologies that retailers offer in store (31%). Therefore, in place of investing in tablets, iPads and virtual reality experiences in-store, marketers should look at investing in SEO/SEM, online catalogues, online reviews and owned online assets such as a brand’s website - areas that are holding the attentions of consumers.
Salmat is a leading Australian marketing services provider. We help clients connect with their customers, week-in, week-out. Salmat's unique combination of targeted letterbox and online marketing channels enables clients to Reach, Convert and Serve their customers. We also provide a wide range of back office solutions, through our Philippines-based Managed Services business. Find out more at www.salmat.com.au