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A Better Way to Buy?
Jacqui Harrison

A recent study shows that "a third of consumers said they would rather wash dishes than shop in a bricks and mortar store" with "40% of shoppers regarding shopping in store as a chore" (1)

The alternative? The online shop, which has now become accessible to the masses and has removed aspects of the in store experience, that shoppers have lost patience with, such as queuing, locating items or navigating crowds. This would explain why for many, it has become the preferred way to shop.

So, it would seem that making your customers’ shopping experience as effortless as possible is the way to keep them on side... Hyundai definitely think so. 

The South Korean car giant, has developed what they are claiming to be the first end-to-end online car buying solution. Allowing customers to move from getting a valuation for their old car, right through to organising how to finance their new car and letting them choose which dealership to collect from or if they would prefer for their new wheels to be delivered to their own front door (2).

In theory, it sounds fantastic. The ‘Click to Buy’ service does offer a multiplicity of benefits. For the shopper, the ability to browse at their leisure without a salesman willing them on to come to a quick decision and every car spec laid out in front of them. For the manufacturer, this service enables them to save on brick and mortar costs, such as commission to salesmen and physical store overheads. 

Despite the benefits though, what this service doesn’t seem to consider, is the type of purchase it is being used for. 

As we know, marketing theory defines four types of purchases.

Firstly, routine purchases that are made automatically, such as milk or toothpaste and secondly, impulse purchases which are made without any previous thought, for example a packet of chewing gum picked up at the till. 

Limited decision making purchases are described as ones for which the shopper already has some existing knowledge of the product, but seeks a little extra information. This, because the requirement of this purchase may be slightly different to previous ones. For example, if you were going hiking for the first time and needed a backpack for the trip. Most of us have bought a few backpacks in our lifetime, but for this occasion you might want to get some information on durability and weather resistance to inform your decision. 

Finally, the extended decision making purchase, the most complex of them all and the one that sees the shopper carrying out extensive research, obtaining advice and forming lists of options in order to make comparisons. The reason being, that this type of purchase carries the most risk (normally financial) if the consumer gets it wrong. For example… a car! The information the shopper obtains helps the consumer justify the decision they make. 

If the type of purchase determines your shoppers’ behaviour, then it must be considered in the design of your path to purchase. If your shopper is embarking on an extended decision making purchase, make your product information super accessible to your shopper and spend time building positive WOM, because your shopper will rely heavily on both. It is in your best interest to make sure that this purchase is as easy as possible for your shopper.  

Whilst on the surface Hyundai’s new service offers a world of convenience, it may be somewhat futile, as shoppers will most likely still need visit dealerships to get advice from salesmen, test drive the car and ultimately compare options. On top of all of this, if you’re about to buy a flashy new car, would you want to speed up the process? Isn’t half the fun hopping from car to car and driving round like you already own that Aston Martin?

Hyundai are running the risk of driving (!) customers to competitor dealerships in their search for information. Here, the ‘in store’ purchase just as easy, as they will find themselves in the dealership anyway, making Hyundai’s latest service almost redundant. 

Paying attention to the latest shopper insights, trends and innovations is important, but tailoring these and understanding how they apply to your shopper and their behaviour is even more important. This is how to develop the most customer centric experiences for your audience. 

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