Word of Mouth is the most important external buying factor – also for smartphone users

A new short study from ECC Cologne in collaboration with CoreMedia, IBM and T-Systems Multimedia Solutions shows: Personal recommendations are the strongest external impulse to buying, followed by advertisement and push notifications.

Cologne, 13th April 2016 – Personal recommendations are a decisive buying factor, also in the digital age. That is proven by the recent short study “Shopping 2016: Can your customers keep up with today’s technology?”, for which 2,000 smartphone owners were questioned by the ECC Cologne together with CoreMedia, IBM and T-Systems Multimedia Solutions. Every fifth purchase relies on the recommendations of friends, acquaintances or colleagues. That makes Word of Mouth the top external buying factor, directly followed by advertisements or push notifications (17.8%). Also, buying recommendations from online shops and customer reviews are important external drivers, both with about 12 percent.

According to Dr. Eva Stüber, head of Research and Consulting, ECC Cologne, personal exchange plays a decisive role for consumers, also in the digital age. If providers encourage this exchange, they do not only reach the immediate addressee of their messages, but may as well use the Customer Engagement to credibly pass their message on to a bigger target group.

Push messages are an important driver for online shopping, but only in the right Sstuation

Advertisement – such as adverts, banners or brochures and push notifications - are more important drivers for purchase in store than for online shopping.  About 23 percent of the respondents named advertising messages as a reason why they have bought something in stationary retail. Only 10 percent have felt encouraged to purchase online because of this strategy. For those online purchases, newsletters and push notifications are the most important drivers which is hardly surprising, as those forms of advertising reach the smartphone user directly. However, many consumers do not desire push messages in various situations; for example one can find push messages disturbing in the cinema, at work, whilst doing sports, when travelling or in a restaurant.

Smartphone research especially in waiting situations

When do smartphone users want to inform themselves about products? The study shows that situations where one is waiting are at the top of the moments in which consumers use their smartphone for product research – this applies to all generations, from elder baby boomers to the young generation Z. Four out of ten respondents reach for their smartphones while waiting. Significantly less consumers research via smartphone when e.g. sitting in a restaurant, on the way to the city center or inside of a retail store.

About the short study

The short study “Shopping 2016: Can your customers keep up with today’s technology?” examines consumer groups with regard to the use of different terminal devices. Thereby, it was not only differentiated between the addressed age group and bought product groups, but also between different buying factors – whether they are internal or external. 2,000 smartphone users were questioned in the context of a representative online survey. The following questions were of particular interest:

  • In which situations do consumers use mobile devices for information research and purchase? Are there differences between elder and younger smartphone owners?
  • Which role do Smart TV and Smartwatches play during the information and buying process of consumers? Are they already established in the customers’ shopping routine?
  • Which internal and external drivers encourage consumers to buy? Do differences between product groups exist?
  • Which consulting and pay services as well as offers for product and branch search are used by the consumers? How does the service offer contribute to the evaluation of a certain provider?

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