Web 2.0 as a Price Differentiator

I spoke with a retail customer today that recently conducted a survey to understand what factors play into how consumers choose where to shop online – especially when money is tight. Out of 1000 participates, they found 57 percent say that price is the most important factor….no-brainer there…while another 20 percent named free shipping as the second. Promotions, sales, discounts, etc. rounded out the top three.

For retail businesses unable to lower prices any further, it might seem like bad news, but as this customer explained, they’re bucking this trend by getting online buyers to talk about their brand or product with other shoppers via user reviews, product ratings, message boards, blogs and even a live chat function they’re built into their ecommerce site.

It’s working because they same survey found that 82 percent of those 1000 respondents prefer customer reviews over researching a product in-store with a sales associate. So in short, this company is giving their customers every reason in the world to stay online and complete the transaction.

Customer value other attributes, such as greater selection, product quality and durability, service, etc. Today, that list now includes Web 2.0, social media and consumer-generated content. So in the end, I think it boils down to businesses properly identifying a combination of both, as all these attributes, when considered in terms of the product price, constitute what marketers refer to as “value for the money.”

Taken in the context of B2B, many look at it as purely a numbers game, or selling based strictly on relationships. The economy is forcing changes to those strategies. Coupled with the internet bringing more educated buyers to the table, B2B sales teams need to differentiate on experience as well as price. The one-two punch, either for B2C or B2B is a must have in this economy.