According to surveys, the majority of Americans are researching products and services online before buying them, whether the final purchase is online or in-person. It makes sense: It allows for window shopping, you have endless research and reviews at your fingertips, and you don’t even have to leave the house to have all the options at your disposal. However, there are a few things that consumers are searching for online more than others, and it’s crucial for manufacturers and retailers to know what they are.
Of course, researching a major purchase like a CPAP machine for better sleep is often done online, even if your doctor has already recommended a model. You want to make sure you’re choosing one with fantastic reviews and from a reputable company. Here are a few more major items Americans are checking out online before putting down the plastic:
1. Salon services
Few people would blindly walk into a spa or salon, even when it’s for something as “minor” as a Shellac manicure. You want to know the prices, services and reviews before booking your appointment. After all, even a wax can cost $20, which is more than an hour’s salary for many people. As a salon owner, you need to ensure your online presence is mobile ready and flawless.
Excepting a house, a car is likely the biggest investment you’ll make. Not all dealerships keep their inventory updated in real-time or offer the best photos. Consumers know this, and yet they’re still researching online to find the best make, model and features for them. Gone are the days when someone will randomly pull into a dealership without doing any research.
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3. Any type of tech
From smartphones to tablets, all in one computers to Google Glass, if it’s technology you can bet the consumer has done their online research. This is where they’ll be notified of any problems from other users, get the specs and price compare. This means retailers need to have perfect online presence complete with responsive design, search engine optimization and gorgeous layout.
4. Schools and camps
Whether you’re thinking about grad school for yourself or the best summer camp for your kids next year, the vast majority of research is done online. Nobody is going to schedule a tour or request a hard copy brochure unless they’ve seen everything they can online first.
The lesson here? Mobile readiness is right now, and your online presence (for better or worse) is what customers see first.