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Insights About PC Purchasing

Buying a PC is a huge decision that requires plenty of research beforehand. Given the prominence of computers in our everyday lives, there’s no doubt that making the right PC purchase is an important move. Because of this, there are tons of computer brands out there vying for the valuable dollars of consumers, and these companies are constantly looking at the customer’s path to purchase for help. When you’re relying on both digital and in-store behavior to help consumers choose a PC, it’s important to be as thorough with your customer research as possible.

Using our ZQ Intelligence cross-platform digital measurement software, we recently pulled some data on common PC buying habits, and what they say about the methods consumers use to make their purchasing decisions. Here are just a few of our findings, split across the two different methods of purchasing behavior:

The Digital Experience

Unsurprisingly, it’s typical for consumers to do online research, looking at everything from price comparisons to tech specs to retail deals, before making a PC purchase. What we found that was surprising was that it takes a consumer, on average, four months to complete their purchase journey. If a PC purchase is not an immediate need, then people are willing to take the time to shop around and consider their options. This gives PC companies a four-month window to convince consumers that their model is the best choice.

Another interesting piece of data we discovered is that more people (61%) use search engines when looking up PCs to purchase, rather than going straight to a retailer’s or brand’s website. Additional research was able to confirm that 30% of online PC shoppers visited a search engine like Google or Bing before turning to a retailer’s website. But it’s not all bad news for online retailers — 44% of online consumers used search terms that included a retailer’s name along with the PC brand. Most of the search terms were retailer-specific, which could account for the finding that retailer’s homepages have the highest traffic overall. This makes it imperative for PC brands to have a strong presence right on the retailer’s main page.

As with most e-commerce, the convenience of being able to shop online contributed greatly to the number of PC shoppers making their purchases over the internet. Also, buying a PC through a retailer’s website appears to remove some of the physical roadblocks that could make consumers hesitate, such as transport — the ability to have a new PC shipped directly contributed to online purchase trends.

The In-Store Experience

The other purchasing method for PC shoppers is to go the old-fashioned route and shop in-store. Store visitors typically want to be able to try out PCs firsthand, see how fast the operating systems are, and compare prices between different models. Shopping for a PC isn’t an offhand decision, either — 70% of consumers made a planned trip to a retailer to browse PCs. In fact, stores can see these shoppers return an average of four times before making their PC purchase.

The in-store shopping experience is not completely physical — our research found that about half of these shoppers use their smartphones while in-store, especially to use search engines. In fact, 27% of consumers used Google as opposed to 4% using a store-specific website or app. Again, this research points to the importance of a PC brand having a strong online presence, although having the ability to touch and feel a PC model is what really drives the in-store experience forward.

If a consumer is in a physical retail location, no matter how many times, they’re there because they want to give the PC a test drive. Yet retailers should be aware that these visits don’t always convert to an eventual sale; it seems more likely that consumers use these visits as research for a sale that may later occur online.

The Purchase Point Balance

Lastly, one of the most interesting findings was how the two shopping methods balanced each other out; the main pain point for each shopping method was the strongest point for the other method. Online shopping suffered from a lack of hands-on experience, which is huge for in-store shopping. In-store shopping suffered from a lack of deals or discounts, which online shopping excels at. Overall, our research came to a solid conclusion: while in-store traffic is driven by physical product experiences, online traffic is driven by the convenience of shopping from home as well as better deals. Although many shoppers are turning to the ease of buying online, there’s still no replacement for getting to touch and observe a PC in-person: not yet, at least.

Category: Marketing
Tags: PC

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