More than half of consumers (56%) check two to three web sites before purchasing an item as impulse shopping is replaced by the age of the 'information shopper' according to research 

Impulsive shopping appears to be very much a thing of the past, the study conducted by Toluna for affiliate marketing network LinkShare found, and today's consumer has been nicknamed the 'Information Shopper' by LinkShare. This article is copyright 2011

As disposable income is squeezed, consumers increasingly need to research all available retailers and suppliers before they make a purchase. Three quarters of those surveyed said they will wait "as long as it takes" to secure the best deal possible.

The research also found that the 'Information Shopper' does not stop even after a purchase has been made, with 40% saying they continued to monitor the product they had bought to ensure that they got good value for their money.

With Information Shoppers searching ever-harder for a bargain, whether in store, online or via the mobile channel, having an integrated marketing strategy in place is essential for every retailer. Consequently, LinkShare urges marketers to make sure that their marketing strategies evolve to appeal to this new breed of consumer.

In terms of demographics, men were found to be the most information-hungry with 12% checking more than 5 web sites before a purchase, compared to only 9% of women who do so. Men were also more likely (45%) to validate their purchases afterward (by continuing to check for value for money online) than women (37%).

"Affiliate marketing gives marketers the opportunity to target specific audiences, and encourage them to purchase in innovative and creative ways," commented Liane Dietrich, managing director for LinkShare. "As the consumer evolves, so must they ways in which marketers and brands appeal to them. If consumers are hungry for information, brands must align their marketing strategies accordingly or risk future sales and profits."

Apart from using vouchers and QR codes to offer added value to consumers, affiliate networks can also help to expose a brand to a wider variety of web sites, ranging from social networks through to online forums, blogs, and price comparison sites. However, Dietrich warned that the content offered must be visually appealing and engaging to encourage consumers to click through and make a purchase.

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