Creative commentary plus crafty composition

We intrinsically realize there is a process to making purchase decisions. If the purchase is small, especially a repeat, the procedure is rather narrow, straightforward; simplicity is magnified by convention. The more significant the product or service, wherein lacking expertise makes us more vulnerable to outside influences, the more elaborate the operation becomes.

By now probably the vast majority of us (except those with little computer savvy or access) have shopped on-line. The ease of the physical requirement, compared with checking things out in person, is weighed down with the endlessly growing hydra of options which can be investigated for so many categories of potential purchase. The dilemma of at least some degree of ‘buyer’s remorse’ becomes more ingrained with the realization that more research, or perhaps slightly different timing, has the potential to make us doubt finalizing our commitment.

With this grounding applies the adage ‘with every challenge comes opportunity’.

Helpfully, one of the celebrated vanguards of the on-line universe has a profile of consumer buying behaviours.

As noted in an article in the June/July edition of The Insurance & Investment Journal, a financial services officer of Google passed on some advice at a Toronto conference earlier this year, primarily attended by professionals in the property and casualty (P&C) arms of the insurance business.

He noted that needs and problems being searched out present a huge opportunity for advertisers to connect directly with consumers. Moreover, there are four lifestyle ‘touch moments’ engaged in a consumer search, to be tapped into: wanting to know / wanting to do / wanting to buy / wanting to go.

A major survey company was involved with 4,000 Canadian interviewees last year concerning their thoughts when looking on-line for P&C coverage. According to its findings, “there are three behaviour phases people go through when buying a product online”:

  • The think stage evolves over an average of nine days, determining there is a need or desire to purchase an auto or a home; decision triggers are the first signal of intent, which advertisers would not normally focus on, but in fact represents the consumer de facto entering the insurance market; advertising on the search page of auto dealers and manufacturers has increased and may be a good exposure link; on the internet, text is most important, however, video (especially via YouTube) is a growing presence; in fact, by 2017, it’s expected that more than 2/3 of consumer data consumption will be via on-line video (presumably this will only add to people’s absorption with viewing screens)
  • The research phase usually takes about three days; the pro-active consumer is influenced by the speed of search engines and takes advantage of website tools; reliance on PC s is diminishing, with as much as half of searches expected to be by mobile phone by next year; thus this device should also be part of the ad platform
  • At the buying stage human interaction becomes an issue for most; for example, about one-quarter of auto insurance buyers liked to research themselves, but wanted help to finish the process, plus a little over 40% thought they might need some assistance; page load speed is most important for mobile phone users: more than half would leave a site taking longer than three seconds to load

The Google spokesman also suggested two days is the buying phase for clients purchasing insurance. Self-serve is increasing its share of the P&C market, but “there is still a distinct need for brokers”. Logically, building practical on-line skills is a journey the latter are starting to embark upon.

Nice to know the adaptive skills of many service professionals should continue to provide some employment stability during these days of technological upheaval.



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