Just as consumers are always finding new ways to research and discover products, brands should be finding new ways to be discovered. This will likely mean abandoning some elements of past marketing strategies, and picking up more contemporary ones in line with consumers’ demands for ease and convenience.
1. Ensure your products are findable
At the heart of each research method below, essential to being found, is content. Sound product details with meta-data rich photos and other media is foundational to your brand’s products being researchable and discoverable within today’s newest technologies.
2. Employ a varied strategy
Think beyond search engine optimization (SEO) or search engine marketing (SEM). In the report “Paid Search and SEO Shouldn’t Be Your Only Discovery Tools,” Forrester Research recently declared: “Search marketing is not aligned with searchers,” and “Consumers don’t restrict themselves to two sources [Google and Bing] when they need to find an answer.” Though still the go-to for 34% of U.S. online adults, many brands have fallen into the sticky trap of only purchasing branded terms, citing higher conversation rates, but as Forrester warns, “no new customers have found out about you, so you’ve missed the discovery phase entirely.”
3. Start where your consumers start
We know over 55% of all product research originates on Amazon. The filters, reviews, and price comparison make the behemoth a sound jumping off point for product research. From there, consumers either purchase or go on to research other sites now armed with competitive data.
4. Tap into the technologies exciting your consumers
- Visual Search: Using a smartphone camera to snap a photo and locate the product online is seen by consumers to be faster, novel, and more accurate than clumsily texting alone. In fact, according to Business Insider findings, at least 55% of millennial adults (18-34) in North America and UK find the mobile camera function ‘very important,’ with at least 16% saying it’s the ‘most important’ feature in product search.
- Pinterest Lens: A subset of visual search, Pinterest rolled out its Lens capabilities last year, effectively saving time for consumers and helping advertisers target over 5,000 product categories by also using a snapped photo to begin product search.
- Voice Search: Seen as a convenient alternative to visual search, shopping millions of products is now in the homes and hands of over 33 million Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home consumers. The sheer number alone, as well as the ease, indicates this to be a continued and growing form of shopping.
- Shoppable Media: Social media falls under this category and is also tightly linked with each of the search methods above. YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and Facebook, can each reach consumers while they are actively researching products and interested in making a purchase. Though a few of the platforms have been overrun with ads, causing consumer fatigue, knowing your audience and where they spend their time is essential to meeting them and fulfilling their needs intuitively and authentically. See our handy guide here.
Brands should also be meeting shoppers during micro-moments – when consumers are searching for a needed or desired product – and ensure they’ve considered content, varied touchpoints, and new technologies when rebuilding the brand strategy.