How Marketers Can Reach Online Americans
Of U.S. Internet users, more than half may be connected to the Web during almost every waking hour of their lives, and a lot of the time they're shopping. Chicago-based management consulting firm A.T. Kearney provides suggestions for marketers interested in reaching those consumers.
"Connected Consumers Are Not Created Equal: A Global Perspective" reveals results from 10,000 Internet users A.T. Kearney surveyed in 10 countries, including 1,000 in the U.S.
According to the research released in November, more than half say they are connected to the Web "nearly every waking hour." Among American respondents, 25 percent are connected to the Web "all day long," 26 percent every hour, 42 percent go online two to four times a day, and 7 percent visit once a day or less.
Asked why, survey respondents say they're seeking interpersonal connections, outlets for their opinions, exploration and convenience. American respondents are among those whose primary motivations for being online are exploration and convenience.
About 97 percent of the U.S. survey-takers say they're motivated to use the Internet to explore new subjects, 93 percent want to access goods and services and buy them, 71 percent want to contact friends and family, and 38 percent want to express their opinions.
All the respondents spend most of their time online in social media accounts, where young shoppers say they become interested in buying from brands they see there.
Also, while respondents say they may not always buy online, they enjoy the access, speed and convenience of shopping on the Web.
A.T. Kearney suggests to marketers that:
1. 'Social Networks Are Indeed the Place to Be,' according to A.T. Kearney. Americans are in social networks during 39 percent of their time online, so marketers should be there, too, according to the survey. Once logged in, nearly 40 percent of social media users aged 16 to 45 frequently to occasionally base their buying decisions on what's happening in their networks. In the U.S., social media users may have accounts on seven networks, but 56 percent of them log in daily to Facebook vs. 8 percent who do so on Instagram.
2. Online Shopping May Mean Something Different to Consumers Than It Does to Marketers. Even though most customers buy in-store, 52 percent of Americans say they prefer to shop online. So what does that mean? If they're not actually converting online, it's not because they haven't been online. "These results highlight the growing importance of the multichannel shopping experience," the survey says. Nearly half of consumers in stores are using their smartphones to check pricing and product information. Those same consumers may have consulted their friends in social media before driving to the store, and so on. Two-thirds of respondents say they visit a physical store before or after a purchase. That may confuse marketers a bit, because respondents also say if they visit e-commerce sites, 89 percent of Americans surveyed go to "pure-play" e-commerce sites, with 56 percent visiting sites of mass merchants and 34 percent choosing department store websites. As for categories, respondents tell A.T. Kearney that during the past three months, 87 percent of them bought fashion and apparel online, 83 percent of them purchased electronics, 82 percent books and 80 percent services.
3. Get Rid of Silos and 'Disconnected' Budgets. See Tip No. 2 regarding how consumers ignore silos.
4. Create Value at Each Touchpoint. They all matter now. Consumers may want to touch a product and talk to a sales associate before buying it online.
5. Personalization, Not Personas. Consumers want to be treated like the individuals they are, so keep track of their data while preserving their privacy, according to the report.
6. Build Communities, Participate in Conversations, and Educate and Tell Stories. "Where value is created in the shopping journey is very different from where it is captured," reads the research.
Are all online consumers created equal?
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