By Ryan Skinner (email)
This is the seventh part of the ten-part FoIS series that I introduced last week, presenting the results of a unique survey about Internet use in the shipping industry. The survey was created by this blog, together with ShipServ for its Connect10 conference earlier this year.
For those interested in receiving the full responses in a .pdf report after the full series has been published, send me an email requesting it.
The sixth question of the survey was:
What do you look for when making a business decision based on information found on a website?
Clearly, shipping professionals seek to qualify suppliers and the legitimacy of their web-site offerings. In fact, the two leading factors that impact buyers do not come from the sites themselves, but rather their own experiences with the company and peers' experiences.
In the consumer world, e-tailing group estimated that 98% of shoppers read peer reviews before making a purchase. And this behavior is moving to the business-to-business world too. Take, for example, UK business listings directory Yell, who recently bought reviews site trustedplaces to add subjective review content to their business information.
It's good news for suppliers too. According to Bazaarvoice's Brett Hurt, the addition of reviews can lead to an uplift in conversion rates of up to 20%, as well as increasing average order values by 15 to 30%.
And when it comes to site content, buyers are most appreciative of objective arguments. They want to see facts and figures, as well as the opinions and findings of other buyers. As a company-owned site is often not the best source of objective material about that company's products, buyers seem to seek qualified third-party websites with company and product information and comparisons.
- Online buyers like to use offline experiences and stories to prequalify offers.
- Objective third-party product and company evaluations are highly sought-after by online purchasers
- Peer recommendations (both online and offline) are important in supplementing the above.
Do you have comments to the question, the results or the analysis? Share them below in the comments field!
Tomorrow what I call FoIS (the Future of the Internet in Shipping) continues with part eight, in which we see how respondents answered the question: "If you were to compare adoption of Internet-based tools in your business as a voyage from Shanghai to Rotterdam, where would your company be right now?"