Does web content also influence buying behaviour apart from perception?

It’s the virtual world out there and it is also becoming a new normal for the consumers of the 21st century in the age of the Internet and social media. Online presence of products and services is being used for research, awareness & knowledge building, identifying good word-of-mouth, and sometimes even virtually experiencing before making that buying decision by the consumers. Electronic devices open a window to the virtual world that offers real-life solutions, interestingly.

Researchers have indicated that the quality of online presence is an important influencer in the online buying behaviour of the consumers. While the basic underlying principles of a virtual consumer may not be drastically different from the physical consumers of the brick and mortar model, a great online presence is extremely crucial for brands. A good online presence also delivers brand awareness, creates goodwill, and generates interest among the consumers.

Like physical shoppers would prefer a good ambience, a great display of products, expressive salespeople, opportunities of trials and other things to make their buying decision, online consumers also look at things from a similar perspective. If the web presence is attractive, being able to showcase the brand promise prominently and can create a stronger association with the audience, it generates a lot of goodwill and triggers powerful word-of-mouth among the web users.

Looking at products and services by the consumers has a great similarity with television viewing behaviour, where people keep using remote and switching channels often. Web being enormously spread often presents a multitude of options to the consumers with available choices. This leads to reduced attention of consumers on any web and other social media platforms and less time being spent before moving ahead to the next available choice. That’s where a strong play of a great web presence comes in for the brand communicators to attract, retain and utilise the presence of consumers on their website for a possible execution of commerce or creation of engagement, whatever be the objective.

If brands can communicate trust among consumers by providing a great look & feel apart from authentic, factual, and relevant information about the products, the consumers will be in a better situation to associate with the brand. So, it is all about having great usability and interactivity on the website like navigation, interaction, payment processing, etc. along with design, presentation, and use of latest and contemporary visual appeal to keep the consumers hooked to your online presence. Web presence should communicate and establish trust among the users to benefit and also come again for repeat viewing and commerce.

Visuals and videos play a significant role in forming a perception about products and services, buying comes later. With smartphones pervading our everyday lives like anything, their roles in providing online exposure to the brands have become significant nowadays. If the brands can provide a near-real lifelike visual experience to the consumers, they stand to win hearts much earlier than the other brands who have been using traditional methods to reach out to the consumers. 

For brand communicators, it is important to always understand, know and apply the “in thing” from the consumers’ perspective of online behaviour. A brand’s web presence if it is synchronised with what’s trending currently in the social media space, makes a definite case for the brand to reach out to the consumers in a strong, positive, friendly, and faster manner.

A stronger web presence of any brand along with engaging content affects the influencers while reviewing a product or service apart from getting direct interest and engagement from the customers. With the omnichannel world, there is an increase in the number of brand touchpoints, and all of these are affected by the well-articulated web and social media presence of any brand to strengthen its perception among the stakeholders. So, it doesn’t matter on which touchpoints consumers interact with the brand, but the key here is to provide a cohesive experience to them to get them to keep coming back to you again and again!

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Praveen Nagda
Praveen Nagda is the CEO of Peregrine Public Relations, a full-service corporate communications and public relations consultancy firm delivering a pan-India reach to its clients. He also heads White Coffee, an independent events & celebrity engagement company.

Praveen has been closely associated with many national and international events related to cinema for children, art and culture. He has a well-rounded experience that cuts across all key sectors of PR & Corporate Communications.

He started his career with URJA Communications, an advertising agency specialising in technology brands, where he was instrumental in developing the PR division. Post this, he had a stint with Horizons Porter Novelli, a global public relations consultancy. Thereafter, he was heading the IT & Telecom division at Clea PR, a leading Indian public relations and communications company followed by a fairly long stint with Omnicom Group agencies viz. TBWA\India and Brodeur India.

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