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Websites impact consumer spend more than social media: report

While some consumers admit business profiles on social networks influence their spending behaviour, KPMG has found a greater number look to official websites for recommendations and information.

The finding comes from KPMG’s newly released The Converged Lifestyle report, which explores the impact of various technologies on consumer purchasing decisions in various sectors, including retail, advertising, mobile operators and content providers.

Interestingly, the report noted 76 percent of consumers prefer to log in to social networking sites on their PCs, despite the rapid adoption of smartphones.

Mobile devices have had a more pronounced impact on consumer behaviour in-store however, with around 40 percent using their mobile at retail outlets to access coupons, where they previously may have downloaded and printed coupons at home, and one fifth of consumers doing research or comparison shopping in-store, by using their mobile device to scan barcodes.

Noting that technology continues to change the way businesses interact with consumers, KPMG closes the report with 10 key takeaways businesses in all sectors must acknowledge in order to adapt to the constantly changing environment. They are:

  1. Privacy and trust: Organisations engaging with customers over digital channels must focus on building trust and ensuring the security and privacy of their customers’ personal data. Trust will soon become the most significant differentiator for online businesses.
  2. Willingness to pay: Across all sectors, customers are looking for ways to reduce the cost of their technology without jeopardising quality. From television service providers to mobile operators and ISPs, businesses will need to rethink their revenue models and price points.
  3. Impact of mobile devices: From mobile coupons to location-based advertising, mobile devices offer a wealth of new opportunities to businesses. Far from simply ‘optimising’ web assets for the mobile platform, businesses will need to rethink the way they interact with their customers.
  4. Value of data: As customers increasingly start to expect customised services, businesses will focus more and more on identifying, capturing and analysing customer data to gain greater insight into their preferences and demands. The challenge will be in finding the right price to both appeal to customers and achieve profitability.
  5. Owning the customer: As more technologies converge, businesses are fighting to decide who ‘owns’ the customer (and their data). The issue is particularly fraught in the banking and retail sectors, where businesses hope to establish themselves as a conduit to a range of other services.
  6. Multi-channel convergence: Many consumer-facing businesses are putting increased focus on integrating their various channels to create a consistent and compelling brand presence across multiple mediums. Multi-screen viewing will offer new opportunities to converge messaging for businesses.
  7. Mobile payments: The introduction of mobile payments will fundamentally redraw the relationship between banks, retailers, telecom providers and device manufacturers. Adoption by retailers and banks will only increase as more customers demand the convenience of mobile payments.
  8. Social media: There is ample evidence that businesses utilising social media to communicate with customers are building stronger, more trusting relationships. With consumer use outpacing business use, many organisations will need to play catch-up if they hope to meet the expectations of their consumers.
  9. Online viewing: The move towards viewing video content online is changing the business model not only for content providers, but also for advertisers and technology companies. Businesses operating in this arena would be wise to rethink their mix of traditional versus online offerings.

10. Meeting customer demand: The converged lifestyle has empowered consumers who are increasingly vocal about their preferences and demands. Businesses that are able to gauge and respond to this evolving consumer relationship will ultimately build stronger relationships and gain critical trust with their customers.

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Lorna Brett

Lorna Brett

Lorna was Dynamic Business’ Social Web Editor in 2011/12. She’s a social media obsessed journalist, who has a passion for small business. Outside the 9 to 5, you’re likely to find her trawling the web for online bargains, perfecting her amateur photography skills or enjoying one too many cappucinos. You can follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/dynamicbusiness">Twitter @DynamicBusiness</a>

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