The importance of brand online

The Internet presents a 'double-edged sword' to existing brands. We have seen that a consumer who already has knowledge of a brand is more likely to trust it. However, loyalty can be decreased because it encourages consumers to trial other brands. This is suggested by Figure 5.7. This trial may well lead to purchase of brands that have not been previously considered.

The BrandNewWorld (2004) survey showed that in some categories, a large proportion of buyers have purchased different brands from those they initially considered for example:

• Large home appliances, 47%

• Financial products and services, 39%

I look more favourably on certain brands

I came across a new brand, which I was not aware of before

I came across a new brand, which I then bought (anywhere)

I decided not to purchase a certain brand or make

I changed my mind about a brand I was going to buy and switched to a different brand

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 % who agree that as a result of using the Internet

Figure 5.7 Changes to brand perception and behaviour as a result of using the Internet for research

Source: BrandNewWorld (2004)

But, for other types of products, existing brand preferences appear to be more important:

• Clothing/accessories, 22%

The survey also suggested that experienced Internet users were more likely to switch brands (52% agreed they were more likely to switch after researching online) compared to less-experienced users (33%).

Of course, the likelihood of a consumer purchasing will depend upon their knowledge of the retailer brand or the product brand. Figure 5.8 shows that many customers will still buy an unknown manufacturer brand if they are familiar with the retailer brand. This is less true if they don't know the retailer. Significantly, if they don't know the retailer or the brand, it is fairly unlikely they will buy.

When buying online, I will buy a product if...

I am familiar with the retailer

Yes

Yes

No

No

I am familiar with the product brand

Yes

No

Yes

No

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