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We are living in an era of technology. Internet and technology have developed rapidly and has reached each nook and corner of the world. Even most of the villagers in our country are now familiar with micro finance and digital money, it’s hard to imagine a time without it. The internet has become a powerful tool in the business processes, many researches on the buyer behavior shows its impacts and influences on their shopping culture.
In last couple of years there are significant changes in many aspects of human life and society as well as in shopping trends. The transition from traditional to digital marketing techniques has changed the pattern of consumer decision making beyond the recognition. According to Campaign India report, as of October 2019, almost 4.48 billion people were active internet users, encompassing 58 per cent of the global population. Shopping through the Internet or e-commerce has become a common phenomenon now. Shopping through the Internet has interconnections with many disciplines such as law, economics, psychology, and marketing. There are many prior factors behind shopping through the Internet by the consumers. This study presents a theoretical explanation for online consumer behavior.
Digital Marketing refers to online marketing /internet marketing. We already have seen, currently there are almost 4.5 billion active internet users every day. It is undeniable that people rely on internet for their day to day life. The recent studies shows that online shopping, especially in Business to Consumer (B2C) has increased and internet business has become more popular. There are many factors that influence a rapid growth in internet shopping, which mainly due to the facilities that internet provides. Customers are always preferred to get more convenience while doing their shopping. The internet helps the consumer to choose the product more efficiently and effectively. It also helps to do a price analysis between various sites and make a better selection. Search engines are useful tools to save time and provides related information. Information with suitable images, sound and detailed description help consumer in understanding and choosing the most suitable product. Consumers are having opportunity to have a look on the information of the product provided by the company and can able to do comparison accordingly, so that they are able to enjoy right to choose and can place order at any time, any day at any place. Operational benefits of e-commerce include Reducing both the time and personnel required to complete business process and reducing strain on other resources.
Consumer behavior is all about how a person select and use products and services. It is concerned with his psychology, motivations, and behavior. Basically, there are two factors that influences on consumer behavior are external and internal factors. External factors are mainly influenced by the environmental conditions, and internal factors are usually from the consumer’s mind.
The external factors can be divided into five sectors: Demographics, socioeconomics, technology and public policy; culture; sub- culture; reference groups; and marketing. Internal factors are person depended and include attitudes, learning, perception, motivation, self-image, and semiotics. (Warne)
While shopping, consumers take decisions based on two factors which are functional and non-functional. The functional factors are based on the time, shopping place and consumer’s needs like one-stop shopping to save time, the environmental of shopping place such as free parking place, lower cost products and wide range of products. The non-functional factors are based on culture or social values, such as the brand name of the store.
The study of consumer behavior includes:
The digital marketing components such as SEO, social media, and google analytics affect customer behavior in many ways.
Social media has become indispensable in fast-changing technological advantages in the context of the advertisement to influence consumer behavior.
In traditional marketing, if a person wanted to buy a product he would have to go to different shops or take the help of ads in newspapers, magazines, TV channels or radio, etc. This required a lot of effort and time still; it would not help him full information about the product.
Through various online advertising platforms like Google search, Facebook, YouTube, etc. this would’ve made it easier by social media which provide detailed information about any product. Personal interest and opinion about a product are guided by the data provided on social media platforms.
For example, customers buy many products, some are satisfied, and some may not be so satisfied. Many share their reviews on online platforms like blogs, Facebook pages, etc. This impacts the judgement of the consumer about the product or service one is looking for.
The insight of certain consumers and their attitudes depends on the psychological curve of their minds. Another aspect is the socio-economic status of the consumer. Social media also influences consumer behavior. Almost every feature of consumer demand is prejudiced by the incorporation of the internet.
Nowadays a consumer has a wide range of options to choose from. To purchase something consumers will think of an internet site to get information. He do a thorough study by browsing through the various of information provided on the different sites.
Here the need for analysis plays an important role. When a consumer clicks on a website, Analytics provide a vital understanding and help in theorizing the consumer’s business behavior.
Based on such information, the analytics can make decisions about the target audiences. They can make marketing strategies and decide which site to target and the time most appropriate for that.
Nowadays customers have become wiser. Now they rely on search engines like Google, Yahoo, etc. to search for data on the goods or services required by them. They believe in their own search and research while arriving at a decision to make a purchase.
Here has come as a boon for the consumer and brand to improve the quality and quantity of the information for the target audience. The role of SEO is to improve the rankings of the website.
Influence of internet and digitization has dramatically changed success story for businesses and consumers attitude alike. Shopping becomes easier. To make a purchase, consumers quickly turn to the internet to research and make their decision within a couple of hours, or perhaps even minutes. Now a days, Customer behavior is much more rationalized, and the business model is also briefer compared to the earlier days.
Some factors that influence consumer behavior on internet marketing:
Online platforms are flooded with digital information each day. Everyday more Companies are coming up to marketing their products / brands on the digital platforms. It’s easy for consumers to research and compare online. With easy access to the internet, consumers use the internet in different ways to make decisions. For example, social media and product-rating sites helps consumers to seek opinions of others through when making choices that have a countless pact decision making (e.g., healthcare options or major electronics purchases). But they do use company-controlled sources when making transactional decisions on commoditized items, such as utilities or airline tickets, brand name and other influencers online are prompting consumers to take their purchase decisions.
Word of mouth publicity used to be the most trusted form of recommendation that consumers believed in traditional marketing. But in today’s digital age, word of mouth publicity is done in terms of customer reviews, influencer recommendations, ratings, testimonials, etc. Maximum consumers make sure to check the opinion of current brand users about the product/service before making their purchase decision.
Online marketing mantras have influenced the mind set of people a lot. They started overwhelming new ideas and brands which offer better features than before. In the earlier days consumers were very skeptical to change brands that they have been using for ages. However, things have changed with time. Digital marketing have made pavement for these new brands to reach out to the customers.
With a vast choice of options available in the market, consumer devotion is difficult, and shift is easy. Brand loyalty was considered as an enormous thing in the past. Very sporadic is when you’d see consumers switch brands. But today, consumers are hasty to switch brands to a new one which is offering better features.
Customer support and satisfaction plays an important role in digital marketing. Consumers now have a lower tolerance level. They are not ready to compromise in any manner. They expect an instant retort to their enquiries and complaints if any. They share their opinions and views on the online platforms which can make or break a brand’s image in seconds. Mostly, consumers tend to easily believe negative feedbacks rather than positive reviews. It’s also noted that a lot of competitors misuse reviews platforms by posting negative reviews on brand pages through fake accounts. With a strong Online Reputation Management (ORM) Strategy can be used to manage and control this problem.
Online trust is vital in building any relationship with customers. There seems to be however a diminishing trust in online merchants. This is especially true when it comes to smaller, niche stores. Customers focus on Amazon and other giants, shops with big brands behind them and don’t apply the same level of trust to a smaller shop. So, if you run any store, you should build a high-level trust among your customers.
This study helped me to learn that Internet has played an important role in influencing the consumer buying behavior. Supported by up-to-date technology, consumer decision can be easily controlled. Moreover, the role of product blogs in giving product reviews is also essential, since word-of-mouth is believed as the best marketing strategy that influence a consumer buying behavior.
A Deloitte report highlighted that consumers who are influenced by social media are 4 times more likely to spend more on purchases. Moreover, the influence can be so high that 29% of consumers re more likely to make a purchase on the same day of using social media.
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