Online reputation more important than price [STUDY]
These days, the vast majority of brands have worked hard to establish an online presence, or at the very least they have created a website.
The reason: Online shopping has become huge, with Australian web sales increasing 8.6 percent to $15.6 billion dollars over the 2013-14 financial year, according to statistics by the National Bank of Australia.
While the internet is encouraging more people to shop online, it also has an impact on the way people shop offline.
Nowadays, before consumers visit a store, they often check it out online first, not only to compare prices, but to also compare brands.
A new study by Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business looked into how in-store consumer behaviour is influenced by online comparison sites and found brand reputation is more important than price.
By conducting three separate studies looking specifically at price comparison sites such as Shopzilla and PriceGrabber, the researchers found that consumers have their eyes on three things in particular: retailer ratings, price levels and how often the product is on sale.
While they found that people do look for the lowest price, offline retailers should focus their attention on having a price that is reflective to the quality of their brand, instead of focusing on having the lowest.
“That’s because their prices are perceived as more valid and therefore have greater impact on subsequent price evaluations,” said marketing professor Onur Bodur, who lead the study.
In fact, Bodur encouraged brands to focus more on online retailer ratings than price.
Therefore, having a strong online reputation is incredibly important. While it is a good idea to encourage happy consumers to share their experience online, if you have a good product and deliver it whole-heartedly, this will be reflected online.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that online review sites such as Yelp and Tripadvisor are based on honesty, so faking reviews, or bribing consumers to write positive reviews will have a negative impact on your online image if found out.
Other ways to increase your brand’s reputation are by conducting case studies, especially if you’re targeting other businesses.
And of course, having a good website with highly-detailed product descriptions and a frequently updated blog is likely to leave a good impression on the consumers that take the time to visit your site.
Posted by Dylan Brown