Study Finds Increased Role of Website Experience and Customer Service in Big-Ticket Purchases During COVID-19
Wednesday, October 14th, 2020
There's no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our lives: it is changing the way we work, how we interact with family and friends, and the way we shop. A new report from Invoca, "High-Stakes Purchases and Consumer Confidence in the COVID Era," highlights data from a survey of 500 U.S. adults to understand specifically how consumers are approaching expensive and complex purchases in this new environment. The data uncovers important findings for businesses aiming to give consumers confidence in making these complicated purchases online.
Despite the economic downturn brought on by COVID, Invoca's report finds people are still making high-stakes purchases, such as cars, insurance policies, wireless plans, and big-ticket home improvement items. However, they're changing the way they research and buy these items, in many cases moving entirely online. For example, the survey found online purchases in automotive grew 115% since March and increased 85% in home services. That said, consumers have important concerns when shopping online: People are most concerned that they won't be able to verify the product or service quality before purchasing (36%), that they'll choose the wrong product or service (22%), that refunds will be complicated (21%) and that they won't get the best deal (19%).
Given the level of cost and complexity these types of purchases require, the report uncovered how brands can help consumers feel more confident when it comes to making these purchases online.
- Brands must create a smooth online experience with options to get live help: For consumers making complex purchases online, it's just as important to provide them with an option to get live, expert sales assistance as it is to have a fully functional website across devices. 81% of consumers said that just having a phone number displayed online so they know they can quickly call a representative, should they have questions, made them feel more confident in their purchases. 80% said having a website that is fully functional across devices made them feel confident.
- Brands must move quickly to provide the info consumers need — or risk losing them: 30% of consumers said that when a website feels outdated, they will choose a different brand, while 32% will do so when the website does not load quickly or freezes often. 33% of consumers will ditch the brand if the website does not make it easy to find product or pricing info.
- Brands must be ready to answer the call: 87% said talking to a person on the phone to answer questions made them feel more confident in making these complex purchases online. When customers are dissatisfied with a website that otherwise offers what they're looking for, 48% are very likely or likely to call the business.
"Almost half of people told us that, even when businesses open up fully, they plan to continue making these high-stakes purchases online. Brands should not simply transfer their operations online; they need to have their digital long game figured out," said Dee Anna McPherson, CMO of Invoca. "They should provide online shoppers easy access to expert assistance via phone or live chat; enable customer service agents to deliver a positive experience; and use insights from these conversations with online shoppers to improve the digital experience."
The full report is available here: https://explore.invoca.com/high-stakes-purchases-survey-data
Register and attend Invoca Summit for free: https://www.invoca.com/summit. Taking place virtually October 20-22, the event will feature talks by marketing influencer and author, Seth Godin, adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, and marketing leaders from Autonation, Dell, Miracle-Ear, Rogers, Salesforce, and more.