It is second nature to turn to analytics and numbers to drive our decisions. That’s what makes us stand out and what gives weight to our judgments and arguments.
Nothing new there, but I can’t help being amazed at the growing space this is now occupying in our life. Over the last few years we have definitely brought that to another level. Let’s face it: we have all turned into data craving creatures.
Data backed up opinions and reviews are key business drivers. It is also increasingly critical to a majority of buyers, 61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision and 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews. (iPerceptions, 2011).
In this new era the nice salesman smiling in the shop can only do so much.
Consumers would rather trust second opinions from buyers who have neutral interests at heart, and the more the better.
According to Reevoo, reviews produce an average 18% uplift in sales and more interestingly 50 or more reviews per product can lead to a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
So one can wonder, how did we get there? I believe it all started with choice. And I’ve got serious data under my sleeve to prove that point. Remember Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail?
Romance finally had a new medium, but the bit I like best and relevant to my argument is the Starbucks tirade…
“The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self. ”
To recap, first there was coffee, then Starbucks and now real time store locator where you can order your very own cup of coffee so that by the time you get there you just have to get it, drink it and if you are in the mood post something about the whole experience…
Now it’s not really about what you do but how you say it while you are doing it. And you have got to be heard. Instant approval by the masses is the ultimate flickering reward.
Does that make the coffee any better, not sure but that surely opens up bags of possibilities and creates a virtuous cycle where data hungry consumers are also data compilers, analyzers and generators.
SoLoMo is not the answer to everything. I personally think that at this point it raises more questions, many of which mind-spinning, than it answers.
What it also does is shifting the proposition and empowers consumers not only in their purchasing decisions but also in the way we have absorbed technology in our everyday life to add value to simple actions, such as buying a cup of coffee.
From a market research perspective a lot of different players are coming up with innovative and interesting initiatives. This being said the numbers don’t lie and while there is no shortage of enthusiasm in the industry Mobile Research is still in its infancy in terms of revenue generated.
At Ugam Research Solutions we have a unique position as we both collect and organize strategic data globally. What we observe is that while we are all very connected and that the world feels like a small planet like never before, we should not forget that the speed of evolution is not linear and that local specificities will always dictate the future of the industry.
I recently read that while the GDP of Africa represents approximately 50% of the US GDP there are 5 times more mobile phone users in Africa than there are in the US.
It is essential to resist the temptation of applying US research models and transfer them to Africa. In most cases it just won’t work but examples are plenty.
To conclude I will quote one Senior Executive from a top 20 market research company who during a meeting was commenting that half of their revenue was being generated by F2F data collection. Now I’m sure that 15 years back, in the early days of online research very few would have foreseen this event.
So yes, the world is changing and fast but some things will never change. There is data to prove one thing and its opposite. If you are in search of a beacon to navigate this ever changing sea of data, come to the source, come to Ugam Research. You won’t navigate on sight or from the stars but on knowledge, and that in my books is a winner every time.
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