When shopping for durable goods, customers looking for safe bet

Dan Ribolzi, Vice President of Sales, Manufacturing Vertical

More well-informed than ever before, today’s consumers are adept at accessing product information, expert ratings, and customer reviews to help inform their purchases. Old stalwarts such as Consumer Reports and CNet remain highly relevant, while Amazon and Google have become crucial to helping consumers sort through the litany of product information to find the right product for them.

YA recently commissioned a proprietary research study to better understand how consumers shop for durable goods, where they find their information, what promotions are effective and how companies can drive repeat purchases and evangelization of their products. We surveyed 1,000 American consumers who said they were a decision-making member of the household on purchases over $250.

Some key themes emerged:

1.Rebates still rule the roost. When asked if they would complete a rebate submission, if offered, 75% of respondents said they would do so “most” or “all” of the time. The rebate – whether offered instantly or post-purchase, awarded virtually or in card form – continues to be a strong promotional lever. Also, when offered the choice between a $50 rebate or an extended warranty valued at $75, 60% preferred the $50 rebate. Cash can be a strong motivator, and on a more expensive purchase, the savings can help justify the buy.

2. The value of a loyal customer. Customer loyalty can mean many things. We asked respondents if a “loyalty discount” for staying with a brand would make them more likely to repurchase that brand, and 95% of them agreed. Also, if happy with a durable product they own, 84% of respondents said they would repurchase that product without researching or comparing other products. No price shopping, no looking for new product solutions – just replace that product. Though a great product is the key to this satisfaction, there are tools marketers can use to ensure expectations are met and customers are enjoying their product throughout its entire lifecycle.

3. Consumers are seeking credible recommendations when shopping. Any brand or product manager will tell you ratings, reviews and referrals are an important part of a customer-focused marketing strategy.

Our research confirms this and reinforces the need to make this a priority. When asked how consumers get information when considering a purchase over $250, ratings and reviews and word-of-mouth both rose to the top. Also, consumers will evangelize a brand or product if rewarded. 86% would write a product review in exchange for a gift card, and 72% would participate in a refer-a-friend program if both they and their friend were rewarded. All this feedback points to the value of building and resourcing a strong referral program.

Overall, ensuring a customer is happy with their product and creating a valuable dialogue before, during and after the sale can often pay off in repeat business and a customer who becomes an advocate. Our jobs as marketers are not only to ensure customers are satisfied with products, but to also enable dialogue and create a construct for ratings, reviews and referrals that bring a marketplace clout to the brand.

If you’re interested in seeing the survey results in more detail, just reach out to me and I’ll be happy to share additional insights.

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