Brand and marketing research

This month, we discover how retail brands are missing a trick when it comes to luring their customers to buy in-store, the emerging trends in digital media habits, and the most common mistakes made by online retailers.

Brands fall short on mobile
Despite the majority of shoppers using smartphones when out making purchases, many brands aren't recognising and taking advantage of this growing trend. Research firms TNS Infratest and Ipsos surveyed consumers across the world, and found that a surprisingly large proportion of customers logged onto the web via their phone on a daily basis (78% in Japan, 59% in France, 58% in the US and 55% in the UK). Shoppers are also using their smartphones to scan barcodes, access product information or compare prices while in the stores themselves.

However, using interviews with 1,000 marketing executives, the report also found that brands are out of step with this emerging trend, with only 17% of UK companies and 12% of French retailers having mobile-optimised websites. These low figures were reflected in the amount of mobile apps created for brands in each country.

Digital habits evolve in UK
Backing up this study, a recent report by YouGov has found that UK consumers are adopting an increasingly diverse range of digital media habits. Out of 2,103 people, 36% own a smartphone (including 54% of 18-24 year-olds) with 74% using it to go online, 61% to access social media sites, and 25% to watch TV or video clips. Demand is also surging for apps, with 74% of smartphone users downloading at least one in a month.

However, a report by KPMG has found that the rise of digital isn't pushing out the more traditional media just yet. While 50% of all individuals questioned had visited a social media site in the month prior to the poll, 92% watched TV, 77% read a newspaper and 63% read a magazine. Indeed, 83% of the sample preferred to consume broadcast programming and films on a TV set than using a computer, just as 73% favoured paper copies of print media to their digital equivalent.

Social network ads fall short in UK
But while the use of social networks is still hugely popular, their advertising is winning no friends. A report by Mintel has found that the majority of UK consumers aren't interested in advertising on social networks, with 66% of users "rarely" taking any notice of ads on the networks, and 56% saying they "don't like" buying items they've seen featured.

Overall, 73% of the internet audience had used Facebook - hitting 83% for women, compared with 77% for men - and 57% visit this property a minimum of once a week. Exactly 40% of respondents have profiles on at least two services, and 31% stated they would "defect" to an alternative provider if their friends did.

UK shoppers remain impulsive
Insights provider Shoppercentric has found that impulse buying is on the rise, with the number of grocery categories in which respondents bought on impulse reaching 8.6 in 2011, against 5.7 in 2008.
The primary triggers for this behaviour was low price, registering 44% this year (31% in 2008), while finding a "good bargain" logged 41% in 2011 (35% in 2008). However, the share of people buying a product because they "fancied it" slipped from 32% to 29%, while the importance of a "reminder" fell from 31% to 21%.

The primary triggers for this behaviour was low price, registering 44% this year (31% in 2008), while finding a "good bargain" logged 41% in 2011 (35% in 2008). However, the share of people buying a product because they "fancied it" slipped from 32% to 29%, while the importance of a "reminder" fell from 31% to 21%.

UK brands fail to reward loyalty
Price comparison website Gocompare has found that the majority of UK consumers don't believe they are rewarded for remaining loyal to financial services and utilities brands. After polling 2,000 UK adults, the study found that, despite reductions of up to £442 for changing providers, only 23% had never done so.

In the past 12 months, only 9% of customers had changed gas and electricity providers (despite an average £442 saving), while just 3% had changed their current account. However, the study revealed that 53% thought they typically went unrecognised for staying with a services firm.

Top 3 online retail mistakes
A new survey from Apptus and YouGov has revealed the top three most common mistakes made by online retailers. These are:

1. Not getting the basics right
52% of online shoppers said they would be likely to abandon a site partway through an online shopping session due to slow performance (eg. from search results).

2. Poor navigation and search
55% of all UK online shoppers would click away from websites where they planned to make a purchase due to being unable to navigate to the product they want.

3. Lack of personalised offers and recommendations
There are ample opportunities to increase spend with personalised offers and recommendations, with 70% of online shoppers saying they would spend more by personalised marketing tactics. Such tactics include relevant promotional offers (45%) and smart recommendations tactics (28%).

Positive reviews ‘nearly as important as price' for online travel booking
User-generated content in the form of positive reviews on sites such as Trip Advisor, is increasingly becoming the deciding factor when it comes to online travel booking, with 29% of consumers identifying it as the most important.

The poll, carried out by user experience consultancy Webcredible, found that the only factor more important than reviews was price, with 38% identifying it as the factor most likely to make them book a holiday online. Meanwhile, only 13% said that a reputable brand, airline or agent was most important, compared to 9% saying the availability of flights or accommodation.

4thJul 2011

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