This report will outline the most relevant behavioural characteristics of online consumers and examine the ways they find, compare and evaluate product information. Comparison of the newly collected survey data with the existing consumer behaviour theory resulted in detection of a number of issues related to a specific consumer group. The purpose of this report is to translate these findings into a set of implementation activities on strategic and technological level. Execution of these recommendations will result in better conversion of visitors into customers and encourage customer loyalty and referrals.
The focus group of this study will be young adults aged between eighteen and thirty-four interested in buying a mobile phone or a related product.
Research by Shun & Yunjie (2006) showed that there are product types, which are more likely to be sold online such as software, books, electronics and music. Reason for this is that when purchasing these types of products, one does not require personal inspection and most, if not all features, can be outlined in the product description and images. Most products in the mobile phone family belong to this category.
According to the recent research on consumer behaviour on the Internet users (Cotte, Chowdhury, Ratenshwar & Ricci, 2006), there are four distinct consumer groups with different intentions and motivations:
Majority of young adults interviewed for purpose of this research tend to be active information seekers. A high level of technological confidence within this group tends to be an encouraging factor when it comes to product information research online.
The following analysis presents both, focus group results and behavioural theory in a parallel fashion divided into two main research topics:
* Information Retrieval and Search Patterns
* Perception of Product Information Online
These two areas are mutually dependent and particularly important in a market where consumers have the power to choose the right product from a number of competing suppliers. Well-structured product information that cannot be found easily online is as much of a problem as is having easily accessible information that does not meet the consumer's expectations. Information Retrieval and Search Patterns
Effect of consumer search behaviour on online promotions
Combination of practical tests, survey statistics and one-on-one interviews conducted with a group of volunteers, produced a first-hand insight into behavioural characteristic of the target consumer group. During the survey, participants were asked to respond to a list of statements with five levels of agreement and disagreement, each related to search habits, information retrieval, perception of information presented online and the way it can influence their buying decision. The interview was conducted on a conversational level as an opportunity for participants to elaborate on their survey input. Practical Test: Stage one – Initial search
Fifteen volunteers were shown an unknown brand of a mobile phone were only logo was visible. Participants were then asked to find out more about this phone online.
The first search stage in most cases started with a major search engine (Google, Live, and Yahoo) in its non-local version. Before clicking on a first satisfactory search result, participants were inquired about the nature of their search, for example, how they searched through results, what they were looking for and what grabbed their attention in the result they were about to click on. As illustrated in Figure 2, participants mainly looked for the highest percentage match in the search result titles (blue text) where word proximity in the phrase played an important factor, following the search result description body (black text). Web address (green text) was largely ignored.
Figure 2: User eye hot spots in the search engine...
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