According to GE Capital Retail Bank’s second annual Major Purchase Shopper Study,  81% of consumers go online before heading out to the store, up 20% from last year, and spend an average of 79 days gathering information before making a major purchase.

“Thanks to social media, people spend a lot of their time researching products online. The shopper’s path to purchase is becoming increasingly self-led and they’re turning to their peers on Twitter, and creatives on Pinterest, to find out what other people think of products and how they are using the products,” says Greg Martin from Tradeway.

In the past, customers would have to rely on the PR messages from companies, but this has changed dramatically thanks to the internet. If brands want to engage with their customers, then they need to be active on the platforms and channels that their customers are using.

Research from Bloglovin’ showed that 63% of consumers were inspired to use a new brand or product because their favourite influencer posted something about it online. Influencers have audiences because they post content regularly, have a specific style or tone, and are considered trustworthy. Pairing up with an influencer and getting them to post about your product can have a much bigger impact than a blog post that you wrote about your own product. Finding the right influencers and cultivating relationships with them is something that more South African brands should be considering.

Not only do consumers want to buy products that people are writing about online, but they’re also turning to social media for information. This means that the content you are developing should be more informational than promotional.

Another way to influence purchase decisions online with the help of influencers is to arm influencers with exclusive promo codes. Not only does this give the influencers something to offer their readership, but it will also help brands track the success of their influencer marketing campaigns.

Need help setting up an influencer marketing campaign? Then contact Tradeway today.