The Digital Buyer: What You Should Know

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Today's buyers are changing the way they do business; whether it's B2B (business-to-business) or B2C (business-to-consumer) relationships. This change is a direct result of consumers' comfort level with the internet, and their willingness (and preference) to research, communicate, and make purchases online. A recent study by search firm Enquiro revealed that when it comes to making repeat purchases, only 11% of respondents preferred shopping at a retail location, and only 9% said they would call a toll-free number to order. The majority of people in the survey – 58% - said they would prefer to do their ordering online.

This preference for doing business online may mean you need to rethink your online strategy to accommodate today's digital buyers. You may not need an actual shopping cart on your website, but you do need an online presence that gives customers the information and resources they want online.

Here are a few points to consider about digital buyers that can help you meet their expectations and win their business:

  • For digital buyers, using the web is often more efficient than face-to-face meetings. Buyers expect a very fast response from well-informed sales professionals via email or web-based messaging, but typically won't tolerate waiting around for an in-person meeting to be scheduled.

  • Digital buyers prefer content that is written (data) rather than spoken (voice), since they are already heavy users of email, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., both at home and at work. Also, much of this communication happens on mobile devices like cell phones and Blackberries. According to Ericsson, mobile broadband subscriptions are now generating more data traffic than voice traffic (as of December, 2009).

  • Digital buyers need access to your digital "assets". Be sure that your high-value marketing content is easily accessible on your website, in your social platforms, and even in the form of videos that buyers can watch at their convenience. Cross-link all your marketing channels to each other to make it easy for buyers to find the info they need regardless of the platform they are using.

  • Digital buyers are not physically tied to their computers; they are on the go, on the road, working from home or off-site, and using their mobile devices to check their email and use the web. They are busy, over-scheduled, and time-starved. Scheduling an in-person meeting is often difficult, but they can access information on the web anytime from anywhere.

The shift to digital is already happening, so be sure you can accommodate this growing group of buyers. Digital buyers can quickly become frustrated if non-digital "roadblocks" are put in their way – such as waiting for a return phone call or a face-to-face meeting with a sales rep. As consumers get more comfortable with virtual relationships and digital interactions, your business will need to adapt to this new trend as well.

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Lauren Hobson has 1 articles online

Lauren Hobson, President of Five Sparrows, LLC, has more than 16 years of experience in small business technology writing, marketing, and web site design and development.  Five Sparrows provides professional website, marketing, and social networking services to small businesses and non-profits at affordable prices, giving clients access to customized services that meet both their needs and their budgets. More at www.fivesparrows.com. Copyright 2010, Five Sparrows. All Rights Reserved.

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The Digital Buyer: What You Should Know

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This article was published on 2010/10/21