In July and August 2020, iPROM and Valicon conducted a study on the path to purchase of Slovenian consumers to determine how the new circumstances marked the purchasing habits of Slovenians. The results of the study, which analysed three different categories (loans, tourism, and telecommunications), show that the altered needs of the Slovenian consumer have a profound effect on the purchase intent, the path to purchase, and consumption.
»In marketing, understanding the consumer’s path to purchase helps us carry out our activities more efficiently, so we can reach them at the moment when they are the most receptive to making a purchasing decision. While the shopping habits of Slovenian consumers have not changed significantly over the past few years, the health crisis caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 has transformed them radically in a short period of time. Consumers were faster to adapt than businesses, and we found that people are becoming more prudent again, just like they were during the financial crisis of 2008. In the stages of incentivizing consumers and research, digital channels play an invaluable role,« commented Leon Brenčič, Customer Relationship Manager at iPROM.
Consumers are looking for cost-effective paths to purchase
The iPROM and Valicon study included consumers who made a purchase between March and August this year. Research has shown that consumers have adapted to meet their needs under the restrictions and measures while still staying very economical in their purchases.
»The results provide us with an insight into a sort of stage or into the effects of the first wave. We see that the effects of the circumstances related to COVID-19 will be arriving in waves. The key moment for planning marketing activities is when there is a lull – this is the time when the epidemiological situation improves and consumers relax. Success will hinge on the ability to ‘ride’ the waves correctly and, above all, to make investments at the right time with the right messages,« explained Matjaž Robinšak, a partner at Valicon.
Digital channels dominate during the decision-making process
The study has shown that digital channels dominate the incentive stage and the research stage when consumers are looking for information. The loans category reveals the largest deviations due to new circumstances. The findings show that the structure of borrowers has changed and the category as a whole has recorded a decline in interest. Consumers mainly took out housing and cash loans, while personal contact with the loan consultant plays a key role in the final stages of concluding a deal, the research finds.
Digital channels are the main tool for purchasing tourism services, while recommendations are the most important driver behind the sales of telecommunications services
Compared to traditional channels, the internet plays a key role when making decisions about holidays (58% of users rely on it during the incentive stage and 92% use it during the research stage). Digital channels are the primary way to purchase tourism products and 63% of all purchases were made online this year. When it comes to recommendations, the participants in the study responded that they are the most reliant on them in the process of choosing or changing a telecommunications service provider (67%), followed by loans (53%) and holidays (45%).
The main purchase decision drivers are marked by external influences
When it comes to holidays, the key driver in the period after the epidemic was the availability of the desired date (51%), while respondents emphasize the importance of quick approval when it comes to loans (57%). When switching the subscription plan or changing the telecommunications service provider, consumers are looking for a better plan that gets them more for their money (40%) or better network quality (33%). Across all categories, the price was also highlighted as one of the key drivers.
Consumers most often share their satisfaction with the purchase in person
The study showed that their experience was shared most often by those who decided on a holiday (83%), followed by loans (by 82%) and a change of the telecommunications service provider or subscription plan (by 76%). The research also shows that consumers most often share their experience in person (through word-of-mouth recommendations) and to a lesser extent through digital channels (by posting on blogs, social media, etc.).
»We live in a time when the future is increasingly difficult to predict, so understanding the environment and anticipating consumer needs and their motivation to buy have become increasingly important – both in terms of addressing consumers correctly and reaching them with the right message at the right time and in the right place. The results of the research across all three categories show some uncommon consumer actions in the new reality, while the power of digital channels is extremely important in all three categories. I dare say that the transformation of shopping habits due to the COVID-19 epidemic has not yet been completed,« concluded Robinšak from Valicon.
Studying the path to purchase across three categories
In their research on the path to purchase in the new reality, iPROM and Valicon used an updated 2017 path-to-purchase measurement model with a focus on purchase events and specific circumstances in the holiday, loans, and telecommunications categories. In the study, the consumer’s path to purchase is evaluated through a series of important experiential touchpoints that a consumer encounters in the shopping funnel.
The study was conducted between 21 July and 11 August 2020 spanning three categories of products and services. A survey was taken by 70,829 Slovenian consumers. The companies analysed the results of those who were actively involved in the path to purchase and made a purchase in the last six months. The online survey was performed using the self-assessment method with CAWI as the measurement method. The participants were recruited with digital media ads inviting them to take part. iPROM Cloud software was used to reach 95 percent of Slovenian online users through digital media.
iPROM specializes in planning and running advertising campaigns in digital media. The tools we create are used across the industry by advertisers, direct marketers and web publishers and help them plan, execute and analyze their digital marketing activities. They are designed to increase the effectiveness of these activities as well as to make the complex world of web advertising a little simpler for our customers, justifying their investments with outstanding returns.
In a data-driven world, ad-serving efficiency is very important. Using media properties, data analytics, in-depth research and the smartest technology available, we enable marketers to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time, every time. With our tools for ultra-precise targeted audience segmentation, effective planning and proficient execution, companies are equipped to build better brands, more successful operations and stronger customer relationships.