SOURCE: YP

November 03, 2016 12:36 ET

The Why Before the Buy

Understanding consumers' buying behaviors and decisions

MISSION, KS--(Marketwired - Nov 3, 2016) - (Family Features) Today's consumers don't often follow a simple path of "search for what I want, find it, buy it." They search at home, at work and on-the-go to find the products and services they need.

New research from YP, the leading local marketing solutions provider and publisher of yp.com and The Real Yellow Pages®, reveals the factors that influence a consumer's fragmented shopping patterns and their decision to make -- or not make -- a purchase.

"Consumers today zigzag between devices, platforms and locations to discover products and services, and we wanted to find out why," said Allison Checchi, chief marketing officer at YP. "Our goal was to get a deeper understanding of what influences consumers to make a decision to go with one business over another."

Basics and Then Some
Consumers use nearly three sources of information, on average, during the search process, so it takes more than a simple business profile listing to truly stand out from the competition. It takes having a strong online presence and rich content.

According to the study, consumers value two kinds of information when looking for businesses: primary information, such as price, location and availability of products and services; and secondary information, such as offers, testimonials, ratings, recommendations, photos or videos.

While nearly 52 percent of consumers make their decisions based on primary information, about 48 percent make their buying decisions based on secondary information. Consumers who said their decision was based mostly on secondary factors spend an average of two times as much money as those using only primary information.

Accuracy Counts
Just as there are key factors consumers consider before making a purchase, there are factors that influence a consumer's decision to not consider a business. Consumers voiced their dissatisfaction loud and clear when it comes to businesses with an online presence that is inaccurate, inconsistent or incomplete. Not only did these shoppers say they would take their money elsewhere, they wouldn't even consider the business, leaving no chance for the business owner to change the customer's decision.

Reasons to Use Mobile
The majority of consumers (64 percent) are device hopping, with smartphones playing a role at some point in the search process. Aside from convenience and speed, some of the top reasons for using a mobile device are the ability to find a location "near me" and to "click-to-call" a business directly from the phone.

"A strong digital presence is critical to connecting local businesses with consumers wherever they are, on whatever device they're using," Checchi said. "This research shows that consumers won't even consider a business that has an inaccurate or incomplete online presence and that businesses are missing out on opportunities if they don't have basic information and contextual content."

For more information about the factors that influence consumers' buying decisions, visit whybeforethebuy.com and follow the conversation using #WhyTheBuy.

10 Ways You May be Deterring Customers
Part of understanding what makes a consumer decide to make a purchase is understanding the opposite -- what makes them turn away from one business and toward another?

Although high prices top the reasons consumers won't consider a business, YP's "The Why Before the Buy" survey found there are a number of other factors that can deter them from considering a business. The common thread in nearly all the following factors: online presence.

1. High prices (62 percent of consumers)
2. Negative ratings and reviews (55 percent)
3. Inconsistent information (37 percent)
4. Website has inaccurate information (37 percent)
5. Wrong contact information listed online (32 percent)
6. No website (30 percent)
7. No testimonials, ratings and reviews (27 percent)
8. Website is hard to navigate (26 percent)
9. Not familiar with the business (21 percent)
10. No photos or videos of the business (17 percent)

Stand Out Online
Technology has revolutionized the consumer journey. Today, a huge portion of that journey takes place online. That means if a business doesn't have an online presence, consumers won't find it and will take their business elsewhere.

A webcast series moderated by Jeff Biesman, vice president of customer acquisition and retention marketing at YP, will share findings from a new research study that explains why consumers make the purchase decisions they do and how small business owners can influence today's consumers. Sessions include:

Improving Your Online Presence - This session focuses on the importance of mobile-friendly websites, business profiles, video content and social media.

Winning Customers with Search Engine Marketing - This session explores topics such as the role mobile devices play in the search process, the importance of delivering a personalized consumer experience and how social media factors into the equation.

Building Your Brand with Mobile Ads - This session discusses strategies including location intelligence, audience segments, defining the goal of your ad and best practices.

For more information on "The Why Before the Buy" webcast series, visit whybeforethebuy.com.

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