Marketers fail to convert online browsers

Marketers of financial products and travel services are losing business because they are not integrating the internet with other communications methods, new research suggests.

A study conducted for digital media company Equi=Media reveals that while many consumers will research brands online, significant numbers would rather make the purchase by phone or face to face.

Equi=Media managing director Andrew Burgess says: “Consumers who research online but prefer to buy through a call centre tend to be older; those who research online and buy online tend to be younger.”

Consumer perceptions of a brand are also a significant factor. “If you have a high street presence, consumers will tend to see you as ‘face-to-face’ brand, so that’s how they are likely to want to make the purchase.” The more successful online brands tend to be those that have no offline “history” to overcome.

The study, entitled the E-commerce Media Monitor Analysis, found that overall, 56 per cent of respondents chose to purchase face to face on the high street or over the telephone, compared to 34 per cent who purchased online .

But during the investigative stage of the buying process, the internet is preferred over other media as it preserves anonymity.

Consumers researching car insurance, loans and travel products do so online (50 per cent), followed by the high street (25 per cent), phone directories (five per cent) and traditional media, including TV, newspapers and direct mail (less than 15 per cent when all combined).

Regardless of which channel they use for research, over 50 per cent of respondents obtain a quote from the high street or over the phone, with 44 per cent preferring to do so online.

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