Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Influence of Internet in the Purchase Process

“The Influence of Internet in the Purchase Process”

Want to buy a new car to meet your status and pocket or do you want to avail the exotic holiday package for your family, want to finance your new business plan or new property where do you look for information, detailed research, comparisons - I hope TV, print advertising, word of mouth or for one in a go you look on internet. What media you use it influences you to certain degree.

The Internet plays a vital role in the modern life style and helps to bring the world closer by facilities like e-mailing, Voice over IP, internet telephony, Video conferencing, distant learning etc.As the internet has taken the imperative part in our life and the life of company’s customers it has influence the purchase decision process for virtually all product and service categories, regardless of whether the purchase transaction happens on a website, over the telephone or in a store or other physical location. As the adage goes “The time is Money”, the customer will look of the product which is available at right place, at right price and at right time. Official company websites acts as a source of “further learning” in the decision process. Even relative to TV and print advertising, the Internet shows great strength in influencing purchases.

A rapid changing behavior of the customer forces the product and service provider to provide the product of “right quality”, in the “right quantity”, at the “right time”, at the “right place”, from the “right source”, with the “right service” and at the “right price”. Organizing these seven rights is not easy task for the company to make its customers the brand loyal. If the company learns the consumer behavior or consumer buying pattern and is proficient to provide what the customer needs then only it will develop the loyal customer base.

The advent of the internet has led to development of the online shopping and past 10 years from its inception has seen a great development in this field. To understand the customer behavior and do the modeling accordingly lot of research has been conducted in this field. Most retailers on the Web spend more to acquire customers than they will ever get back in revenue from them. Many think that sky-high spending on marketing is necessary to stake out their share of Internet space.

Some says the painful truth is that the Internet has been a letdown for most companies largely because the dominant model for Internet commerce, the destination Web site, doesn't suit the needs of those companies or their customers. Most consumer product companies don't provide enough value or dynamic information to induce customers to make the repeat visits and disclose the detailed information that make such sites profitable. Instead of trying to create destinations that people will come to, companies need to use the power and reach of the Internet to deliver tailored messages and information to customers. Companies have to become what the authors call "contextual marketers." In today’s world the consumer wants the appropriate information at correct time and hence he/she considers the company websites very seriously in their desire to learn more about products they are considering buying. So, the companies should invest in making those sites as information rich as possible to anticipate all the types of questions consumers may have in evaluating their purchase decision. At the same time, a good corporate site cannot be an island in a marketing program. The consumers uses different vehicles to discover those corporate websites in the first place, including search engines, opt-in email programs, web advertisements, as well as traditional marketing programs.

There is high probability that the consumers depend more often on “word of mouth” to make up their minds about buying decisions. The challenge for marketers, therefore, is to influence those “influencers.” These hyper-influencers share certain characteristics that marketers can try to exploit, such as a much higher than average consumption of all types of media, including websites, email and weblogs.

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