Consumers are less likely to rely on online brands with strong reputations or unique products and will shift significantly toward price during an economic downturn, a survey has found.
The poll of general buying habits across a range of consumer products, conducted by technology provider RightNow and the Loudhouse Research organisation, indicated that 79% of online users will use price to drive the purchase decision during economic uncertainty.
A further 72% stated that price and good online user experience would be the second highest influencing factor on where to buy a product.
“Retailers relying on brand pedigree, product uniqueness or reputation” were listed as the three least influential factors in the report.
The results run counter to recent drives in the travel industry to improve brand reputation through quality of service offline, especially in the high value area of hotels and tour operating where companies are increasingly shifting product via the web.
RightNow EMEA general manager Joe Brown, said: “Brands selling directly to the consumer be warned; as the credit crunch deepens and spending decreases, offering ‘sweeteners’ to consumers is only half the survival story.
“They won’t tolerate corners being cut when it comes to customer service and are willing to offer you feedback about how to improve the customer experience you deliver.”