Globally, more people have mobile phones than electricity or drinking water! With so many consumers in the market for phones, Google commissioned research to better understand how consumers shop for cell phones in the U.S. We have grouped some of our findings into a variation of the 4 phases in McKinsey’s Consumer Decision Journey:
1) Stimulus: What triggers consumers to shop for a phone?
- Upgrades and new devices are most likely to trigger consumers to start shopping. 48% of consumers purchased their phone because they were eligible for an upgrade while 31% purchased because they wanted the latest & greatest device. Consumers were less likely to purchase because they wanted a better deal or wanted to switch to a faster, more reliable network.
- While devices prompt consumers to shop, consumers said they care most about network reliability, cost & data plan structure when shopping for a new phone.
- Prioritize device/OEM messaging & search to drive sales
- Highlight network and pricing in communication
2) Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT): Consumers research extensively before purchasing. What sources influence wireless purchases and help consumers decide what brand to purchase?
- 72% of shoppers considered 2+ cell phone models and 57% visit 5+ different brand sites before purchasing (either OEM, retailer or carrier). They also took their time researching, with 60% of online shoppers starting their research 2+ weeks prior to purchase.
- Smartphone shoppers indicated that digital resources are most useful and used most often when researching. Search engines were the #1 resource used throughout the research process.
- When it comes to search, consumers used different keyword types: 49% searched on carrier terms, 43% on retailer terms, 26% on OEM terms and 19% on non-brand terms.
- Wireless shoppers used video to research and video aided in brand discovery:
- 41% of smartphone buyers watched videos during the shopping process .
- After viewing smartphone product videos, 64% of shoppers became interested in specific smartphone models, 44% were introduced to smartphone brands not previously considered and 36% heard about the smartphone product for the first time.
- Consumers are almost as likely to use their mobile devices to look up product information & reviews as they are to research price & seek deals. They also use their phones to look up store contact information.
- Digital is core to the purchase process. Ensure it is core to your media mix.
- Consumers research extensively: Extend attribution window & remarket to shoppers who don’t immediately convert on your site
- Extend SEM coverage across carrier, OEM, retailer, and category/non-brand terms to reach full relevant audience.
- Target wireless shoppers watching videos about devices & service
- Ensure your mobile site is optimized & scale mobile search coverage to reach all consumers looking for you
3) Purchase: Where and how do they purchase?
- According to Traqline 69% of cell phone purchases occurred in-store in 2011 but almost half of all cell phone purchases were influenced by the online channel.
- Mobile researchers are more likely to buy in store: 72% of mobile researchers purchased their phone in store vs. 55% of non-mobile researchers.
- Video drives consumers to store: After watching videos, 69% of smartphone buyers visited a store that sells smartphones and 36% searched a store’s inventory or availability.
- Digital ultimately fuels in-store purchases. Measure and incorporate in-store influenced sales into digital ROI.
- Mobile & video drive purchases: Include a call to action and ensure it’s easy for consumers to locate a nearby store.
4): Post-Purchase: What can marketers do better to improve the post-purchase experience?
- Customer service influences future purchase decisions: 42% of wireless shoppers said that customer service was an “extremely important” consideration when shopping for a smartphone
- Customers turn to the web for help:
- 20% of wireless customers prefer to use an online channel to solve their customer service issues (e.g., email, online chat, video tutorials, etc.)
- 37% of wireless customers use search engines to look for customer service help
Post Purchase Recommendations:
- Increase customer satisfaction, reduce churn and call center costs by activating digital to help customers where & when they need it
- Serve targeted ads & landing pages to customers searching on customer service terms
- Use video & chat to get consumers answers faster
Posted by Eva Barbier, The Google Technology Team
Sources & Methodology:
1) Google/Compete Wireless Shopper Study: Compete conducted an online survey using panelists who researched or shopped for cell phones online within the past 6 months.Surveys were fielded between Nov 10th and Dec 1st 2011 N=788. In addition to a survey, Compete measured consumer behavior within the industry in Q3 2011 using their panel of 2M US Consumers.
2) Google/Compete Video Shopper Study: Surveys were fielded between Sept. 6th to Oct. 13th, N= 1186, Smartphone videos are defined as product videos watched on youtube.com, retailer sites, oem sites
3) Google/Ipsos OTX Customer Service Study: Surveys were fielded December 29th 2011- January 18th 2012. N=1800