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Decision Simplicity in Marketing and Web Design

Today’s marketers are focusing less on brand loyalty and more on informative content, with the idea that web-savvy consumers want access to every bit of information they can have about a product for comparison purposes before purchase.  While this focus has led to product transparency and ease of purchase for those people who have some familiarity with a product, it can be very overwhelming for consumers who are in the beginning stages of product research.

The Corporate Executive Board has done more than 7,000 consumer surveys to determine what makes consumers “sticky”- likely to follow through on purchases, buy a product repeatedly, and recommend it to others.  The surveyors found that the biggest driver of stickiness was what they call “decision simplicity’- the ease with which consumers can gather evidence they trust and efficiently weigh their purchase options against other competing products.

This marketing approach is all about the ease with which consumers are guided to make a decision.  Aiding in navigation, building trust, and making it easier to weigh product options are ways in which marketers can make the buying process easier on consumers.

Ease of Navigation in Web Design

Establishing an efficient purchasing path for customer means streamlining the number of information sources a consumer must touch on their journey to a purchase.  Successful brands will personalize the process through creative web design, and will provide information that is relevant to the purchaser’s integrated use of the product in daily life.  Marketers are now using big data to compile analytics of consumers’ purchase path and outside resources that are regularly utilized for research.  Analyzing search terms, such as a search for a specific car brand versus a “luxury sedan” allows marketers to gauge how far along a consumer might be in the buying process.

Establishing Trust

In terms of decision simplicity, trust refers to the authenticity of the information gathered about a product.  Current marketers are recognizing this and are focusing on various methods including hiring average people as brand ambassadors, allowing them to give relevant product information to the masses.  This information helps consumers understand how the product will fit into their lives.

Easily Weighing Options

Marketers need to assist consumers in evaluating their options by providing a simple process, such as personalized recommendations or short surveys.  Marketers should provide tools that allow customers to identify and compare features that are most relevant to them.  These tools are easily integrated into the web design of a product site to flow seamlessly and allow for ease of usability.

Summing up Simplicity Marketing

The non-technical aspects of a product are often much more helpful to the general purchasing population than less digestible technical specifications.  Rather than informing the average customer, it leaves customers at a loss in terms of decision making, pushing them away and leaving them frustrated.  Marketers can ease the purchase process by creating simple ways for consumers to navigate products, determine trustworthy sources, and weigh product options based on their needs.


[via Harvard Business Review]

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