Over the last 10 years (even longer actually) digital media has been a phenomenon and there is no question about it. Whether you use networking sites like LinkedIn, social media platforms to like Twitter or Instagram to communicate with others or create brand awareness, go online to research particular topics of interest or just shop online, digital media has become a part of everyday life.
As a marketer, I go online and off-line to learn, create and develop. As I was reading through some marketing literature a while ago, I saw a statement that instantly caught my attention. Eager to know what people thought of the statement, I decided to ask people i.e. consumers off-line (face to face) so I could present their thoughts online to you – the readers. The statement was this:
Interesting statement don’t you think? Let’s have a look at the thoughts of the consumers I asked:
Barry Mason – “The internet has exponentially increase our access to information, so of course it has influenced me to want things I would never have wanted 20 years ago. Social media spreads quicker than word of mouth than magazines could back in the day. Digital media makes comparing different products and services so much easier.
People who dine out or even before purchasing flights, frequently use independent review sites such as TripAdvisor to gain honest feedback regarding establishments. It is even used in the business world to assess the strength of a counterparty.
Fundamentally what is attractive to a potential client remains unchanged since decades ago. It is wealth of information available that allow us to make much better informed decisions”.
Peter Raymond – “The impulse buy element has waned somewhat with the decrease of stores; I am less likely to purchase a DVD or CD in a whim because it’s in my face. Online you get what you are looking for”.
Trevor Delaney – “It has changed the way consumers make decisions because digital media has been able to help create and support (which print and analogue media wouldn’t be able to) the current horrible and impatient ‘I want it now and don’t want to wait’ mentality. It’s created a demand of wanting more for less.
It has influenced me because it’s a form of advertising. I see, I want, I buy. Just like any other form of media”.
Carl Bautista – “I don’t agree or disagree with the statement. It is hard to say. Digital has made a massive influence. For example, buying clothes is a big issue. I would rather go in store to see how it fits. From that point, if I like, I purchase in store. Products like DVD’S or even food shopping that is very good to get online. So you can see, there are two sides. Sometimes I like the experience of going to a shop to buy things, rather than a click of a mouse”.
Krista Jones – “We live in a digital age. Technology is more advanced and more secure especially for consumers. We as consumers mostly rely on the internet to research products and compare prices on said products. As a matter of convenience we online shop so that we have time for other things in our day.
With social media at its peak, we have Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest to name a few, where we see items in demand and from that hype it generates we want these for the simple fact that it’s a MUST HAVE! Face book has sales groups. One in particular is a pick-up service from Primark. Items which people can’t find in their stores will items on a ‘wanted list’ and someone would purchase for them and they make a non-profit sale for that person.
A blogger reviewed a shell bag from Primark, which then became this must have item. Over 30 people on the Primark page requested this bag. Unfortunately, the page was only sold in larger stores. The only store remaining with large quantities was Manchester. 3 people took time out their day to head to Manchester store and purchased 30 bags for these buyers.
Now this started because of one blogger.
As much as so many deny that that the digital age hasn’t affected us, it in fact influences more of our decisions than they care to realise. Especially for the younger generations”
What digital is from my perspective is information highway. It is a big online encyclopaedia where consumers can flick through pages to discover, learn more and research about whatever they desire. Digital can be a one stop shop for consumers needs. It can influence consumers to extent as Barry Mason mentioned as consumers have more access to make more informed decisions. It is a form of advertising as pointed out by Trevor Delany and is a very powerful tool as Krista Jones demonstrated. However, it could be argued that what digital lacks is tangible elements and this could be off-line’s advantage.
You cannot feel or touch a product online to know its quality; have to face to face interaction with a customer service representative when you have a query or question about a product or service. Those elements can be influential and a key factor in the way that consumers make decisions. However, digital does incorporate some intangible elements that are beneficial to consumers.
On websites like o2 for example, the organisation has a live chat where a consumer can speak to a customer service representative online about any queries they have. Even though intangible, this provides face to face interaction but on an online platform. This can effect a consumers purchasing decision.
Online you can track your order so you know exactly where your product is along the distribution line. By having a frequently asked questions and answers section (faq’s) on websites, this can help put a consumers mind at ease and eliminate the time of actually going into the store about a query or concern they may have.
In conclusion, I believe what digital has done is given consumers an alternative; an option to shop in a way which accommodates their lifestyle whether that be online or off-line. By having more of an option this can affect the way the consumers make decisions.
What’s your view on this? Do you agree with Nina Rahmatallah’s statement or has digital changed the way that consumers make decisions? I’d like to hear your thoughts on this subject. Feel free to leave a comment.