Consumers: Brands’ Online Product Recommendations Spur Purchases

September 15, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

Brand Loyalty & Purchase Habits | Brand-Related | Data-driven | Digital | Email | Personalization | Promotions, Coupons & Co-op

StrongView-Product-Recommendations-as-Purchase-Drivers-Sept2014Brand enthusiasts find product recommendations based on prior purchase history to be both helpful and influential, details a new report from StrongView and Edison Research. The study analyzes the impact of digital communication from brands on consumers, noting that email is by far the leading online communication channel in terms of influencing purchases, and that relevant communications that meet expectations for a brand can help prompt those decisions.

The report segments respondents into two groups: brand enthusiasts (26% of the sample); and non-brand enthusiasts. Brand enthusiasts are defined by the following characteristics:

  • They’re likely to recommend a brand to a friend (top-3 box score on a 10-point scale);
  • They report that “almost all” of their purchases of a product come from that brand; and
  • They’re “very likely” to buy from the brand in the future.

(It’s worth noting that all respondents – whether brand enthusiasts or note – reported having made an online purchase within the prior 6 months.)

Respondents were asked to think about a specific brand that they receive digital communications from (such as via email, social media, a mobile app, or others) that they prefer to buy. In essence, respondents were asked to identify brands they prefer to purchase that also communicate with them online.

Among the respondents who gave a valid brand, email proved to be the form of digital communication that most had engaged with, as 82% of brand enthusiasts reported having read an email from the brand. Email’s purchase influence is also on display: thinking of the last time they purchased the brand, 51% of brand enthusiasts said an email prompted their purchase, almost twice the proportion of the next-biggest motivator, an online ad (28%).

Turning to product recommendations, the report finds that 57% of brand enthusiasts and 44% of non-brand enthusiasts have had their identified brand recommend to them online or via email another item to purchase based on their purchase history. Among those, 77% of brand enthusiasts and 66% of non-brand enthusiasts reported having ever purchased an item recommended to them by the brand. And of those, 95% of enthusiasts and 85% of non-enthusiasts reported purchasing recommended products either frequently or sometimes.

Separately, the study notes that the most important factor in respondents’ decision to make their last purchase from a specified brand was the quality of the brand (44%), followed by a sale/discount (19%) and loyalty to the brand (13%). Recent research has indicated that most consumers believe that loyalty is defined as buying a brand based on quality rather than price, and that US CMOs believe that customers prioritize quality over price.

About the Data: The StrongView data is based on 2,216 online interviews nationwide among adults aged 18 and older. The interviews were conducted 3/18/2014-4/1/2014.

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