Online Content Changing Buying Methods

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Seventy-six percent of online shoppers said they have purchased a brand different from one they planned to purchased because of information they viewed at a manufacturer's Web site, according to Cyber Dialogue Inc. research released exclusively to iMarketing News.


This is a key finding for companies that have been working to build their online content, said Qaalfa Dibeehi, senior analyst at Cyber Dialogue. The information presented to a consumer on a site could mean the difference between consumers buying one manufacturer's product or their competitors.


"If you were making a decision between Honda and Toyota [it could come down to] which has the better site," he said.


Shopping sites also have influenced 77 percent of online shoppers to purchase a different brand, according to the findings.


"Comparison shopping sites present information you weren't necessarily looking for when you started," said Dibeehi. Buyer-opinion sites also influenced the buying decision of 63 percent of the respondents, and 28 percent said banner ads played a role.


From a branding standpoint, what a company does on the Web may have a huge impact as more than 40 percent of online shoppers said their impression of a brand changed as a result of the information they found online.


"What we're seeing is [content is making a difference] in branding," he said. "This is a huge opportunity for manufacturers."


The automotive industry has benefited the most from its extension into the online space. Almost half (41 percent) of the online shoppers said a car company's Web site has changed their impression of specific automotive brand. Nearly one-third of those shoppers (24 percent) reported that the online information led to a purchase of a brand of automobile they might not have otherwise made.


The airlines also stand a lot to gain from having a strong Web presence as 29 percent of respondents said online information changed their opinion of a carrier. Fourteen percent said the information led them to purchase a different brand.


Twenty eight percent of respondents said online information altered their impression of insurance companies and 14 percent made a purchase of brand other than their normal provider.


The findings are part of Cyber Dialogue's 1999 American Internet User Survey of 2,000 consumers.
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