Brand performance a key driver of online purchases

Brand performance, offline as well as online, is the single most important driver of consumers’ online purchasing decisions. That conclusion comes from a survey by research firm Miller-Williams of 976 online buyers.

Based on the survey, San Diego-based Miller-Williams concludes that 35% of a decision to buy from an online marketer derived from consumers’ perception of the company’s brand performance, including executive leadership, marketing, and advertising. The marketer’s financial security accounted for 18% of the decision, and the marketer’s strategic direction—alliances and the like—accounted for another 17%. Fifteen percent saof the decision came down to “click interaction”—the pricing, quality, and customer service available from the i.merchants. “Bricks interaction,” or how approachable the marketer would be should a problem arose, accounted for another 15%.

The study also based online customers into five behavioral groups:

* Sensibles, who make up 37% of online buyers, are the most loyal and the most willing to spend more to get what they want. They make their decisions by communicating with others online and offline.

* Hagglers, who account for 34% of online buyers, love a bargain and are the first to respond to time-sensitive offers. They prefer to negotiate with people offline.

* Loners, who account for 15% of buyers, prefer to conduct all of their business online—even though they have the most limited knowledge of Web technology and are therefore the most expensive to service.

* Agonizers, who make up 10% of customers, conduct lots of research before making a purchase.

* Techies, who account for 4% of buyers, are the most Web savvy but the least loyal.