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Google reveals how people really shop online

Google reveals how people really shop online

The Innovation team at Instinctif harness the best of the future to deliver market-leading ideas in the present. The team’s specialism spans digital strategy and marketing, data & analytics, and strategic brand. This fortnightly update shares top tips to help you foster creative and challenge the status quo and summarises the news that matters.

In the time before Coronavirus (BC), online shopping bore the marks of a guilty secret. A bad habit; a night-time compulsion; with the hangover of last night’s orders turning into next-day’s arrivals.

But with the advent of lockdown, online shopping transformed from shadowy solitary behaviour to a necessity. A virtue. Keep safe and keep businesses open – with just a click of your mouse.

Now, Google has delved into just how people arrive at their online shopping decisions. Stripped of the shelves, shop assistants and labels guiding them in a bricks and mortar shop, how does the purchase Journey work when they’re standing in the middle of the information superhighway.

In the report, ’Decoding Decisions: Making sense of the messy middle’, Google’s consumer insights team reveals the role of our instincts in guiding us when shopping online. And – for those of us with wares to sell – how brands can cut through the noise to make their products heard.

Here are some of our favourite insights:

Google has identified “the messy middle”

It’s “… a space of abundant information and unlimited choice that shoppers have learned to manage using a range of cognitive shortcuts.” It’s a busy, loud space marketers and brands must be conscious of, seeking to cut through the noise in a way that’s relevant and useful – rendering a well-considered SEO strategy crucial.

Decision-making is not simply logical

Our purchase behaviours are both conscious and unconscious, logical and whimsical. As the report notes “Even a seemingly functional, low‑cost purchase like buying a favourite shampoo can be prompted by emotional or rational considerations.” A tricky space for brands to navigate – BUT…

The good news is…there is a power in just showing up

According to the report, just having a presence in moments of shopping deliberation can be key to winning or keeping consumer preference. In the report’s simulated car purchase (a usually large, considered decision) when a second favourite brand was introduced as an option, 30% of shoppers changed away from their first preference.

Stealing the limelight

The opportunity for challenger brands: the report found that a second choice brand could take a full 90% of preference away from the first choice brand when it had all six of the following:

  • Category heuristics – easy-to-understand proof points, e.g. 64mb memory
  • Authority bias – someone known and trusted endorsing the product or service
  • Social proof – word-of-mouth reviews or recommendations from others
  • Power of now – e.g. instant download or 24-hour delivery
  • Scarcity bias – the sense that the product or service is in short supply, therefore more valuable

The most impactful purchase incentive? Other people
People buy people. Don’t underestimate the power of good feedback from real humans. The report found that having a five-star product / brand review was the most powerful behavioural incentive, with either the largest or second-largest effect in 28 of the 31 categories tested.

Learn more about “the messy middle” here.

Tool of the week

We’ve seen the reports, we’ve heard the news; people are spending more time than ever on their mobile devices.

We are downloading more apps and spending more of our day on them – and, as a result, more apps are achieving one million monthly active users more quickly than ever before.

The ‘Mobile App Evolution’ report from app analytics firm, App Annie looks into mobile trends from around the world. The report provides a wealth of insights around the topic, such as micro-regional app trends and shifts in detail.

You can download the full report here

Top tip

This week’s tip comes from Senior Account Manager, Hazel Edwards.

When we’re spending a lot more time at home, it can be easy to get caught up in a routine and in our own individual bubbles (not just in a social distancing sense!). That’s why I’m always seeking new ways of stepping outside my comfort zone and trying something new.

One of the most enjoyable ways of exploring new cultures is, arguably, through food, which is just one reason why Tezeta Press’s Community Comfort cookbook has been such a gem – and such a good cause to boot.

100 British cooks from migrant backgrounds came together in this e-cookbook to raise funds for the bereaved healthcare colleagues and families of Black, Asian & Ethnic minority victims of Covid-19. All the recipes and stories are centred around comfort food inspired by the diaspora – and are available to download, just donate what you can.

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