Purchase intention is a measure of the strength of a consumer’s intention to perform a specific behavior or make a decision to purchase a product or service. Usually purchase intents are classified according to four types: informational (awareness), investigative intent (consideration), navigational (consideration/conversion), transaction intent (conversion).
Understanding purchase intention
Purchase intention is the willingness of a consumer to buy a product or service.
While the concept appears rather simplistic at first glance, it is important to note that purchase intention cannot be evaluated with a simple yes or no answer. In truth, many factors affect purchase intention such as consumer knowledge, product packaging, celebrity endorsement, or the general perception of a product among friends and relatives.
Purchase intention is the single most important customer metric in eCommerce, but many businesses build customer segments around a buyer persona and consider their work to be finished. In a study conducted by Google in 2015, it was found that marketers who focused on demographics and ignored purchase intention could be missing more than 70% of potential customers.
To illustrate this point, Google noted that 40% of baby-related products were purchased by people who lived in households without the babies they were purchasing for. These are individuals such as grandparents, birthday guests, and baby shower attendees, among others. However, the point here is that none of these individuals are the parents with the newborn baby.
Thus, it stands to reason that to neglect purchase intention is to neglect, in some cases, the majority of the target audience. Marketers who take the time to understand it will enjoy a host of benefits, including improved conversion rates, profit margins, customer lifetime value, brand equity, and marketing channel ROI.
The four types of customer purchase intention
For online businesses, there are four types of customer purchase intention. In other words, every consumer lands on a website with a different goal in mind.
The four purchase intention types are as follows.
1 – Informational intent (awareness)
Consumers in this stage are concerned with reading information to educate themselves on a topic. For example, a consumer searching for information on cosmetics that do not inflame sensitive skin may read an article that helps them understand how to solve their problem.
For the business, the goal is to create brand awareness and provide the consumer with educational resources that move them down the marketing funnel.
2 – Investigative intent (consideration)
Consumers in the investigation stage are currently exploring their options via additional research. This may include comparison websites, product and brand reviews, and social listening.
Due to the sheer number of different products available today, consumers spend more time with an investigative intent than they do any other intent. As a result, the business must show the consumer value propositions that are relevant to them and clearly explain what sets their brand apart from competitors.
Consumer finance platform NerdWallet incorporates product comparisons and user reviews to make personalized product recommendations across multiple niche market segments.
3 – Navigational intent (consideration or conversion)
Navigational intent means the consumer is visiting a specific website or a brand’s online store. Since they are seeking out a specific brand or website address, navigational intent is associated with higher purchase intent.
Businesses must keep the consumer on their platform at all costs or risk losing them to the competition. Product promotions and personalized messages or customer experiences can be effective strategies.
4 – Transactional intent (conversion)
Transactional intent is the type most equate with actual purchase intent. These consumers have a propensity to purchase, which means they are interested in acquiring a product or service.
Conversion should be the aim of the game for all businesses at this stage. This can be facilitated via incentivized, time-limited, or personalized promotions. For example, many eCommerce retailers offer consumers a 10% discount in exchange for their email addresses. Others may promise free shipping if the order amount exceeds a certain threshold.
- Purchase intention is a measure of the strength of a consumer’s intention to perform a specific behavior or make a decision to purchase a product or service.
- Studies by Google have shown that focusing on customer demographics and ignoring purchase intention is to neglect, in some cases, the majority of a company’s target audience.
- There are four types of purchase intention which correlate with various stages of a marketing funnel. For eCommerce businesses, knowing which type of intent a website visitor displays is crucial in making them more motivated to buy.
The effect of packaging on consumer perception
According to the Food Marketing Institute, the average number of products in a supermarket ballooned from 8,498 to almost 47,000 between 1975 and 2008. The institute claims this number has reduced somewhat in recent years due to the popularity of smaller stores.
Nevertheless, the sheer number of brands available in stores continues to bewilder consumers today, with a separate study concluding that 36% were overwhelmed with the amount of information they had to process when making a purchasing decision. Product packaging plays a key role in this decision-making process since it is often the first contact time-poor consumers have with a brand.
These subconscious decisions are based on elements such as shape, color, pattern, size, text, material, and information. Many will also consider whether the packaging can be handled safely by infants or children.
In the following sections, we’ll discuss some of these elements in more detail.
The color of product packaging is one of the most significant drivers of consumer purchases, with as many as 90% of shoppers basing their assessment of the product on color alone. Bold colors such as red that attract the eye are the obvious choice for many businesses. However, green is commonly used to denote organic while white is traditionally associated with purity. Blue, on the other hand, is used by toothpaste brands to represent menthol, mint, or freshness.
Heinz released a line of green ketchup in a striped-green bottle to tremendous success. Ten million bottles were sold in the first seven months as Heinz factories operated 24/7 to meet the increased demand.
Typography refers to the font the business uses to describe the product. For maximum results, the business should select a font that is easy to read and incorporates a contrasting hierarchy. In other words, it should utilize headings, subheadings, body text, and so forth.
Product packaging with a cluttered layout and excess content dissuades the consumer from learning more about the product. Since the business has but a few seconds to make a good impression, the benefits of the product and how to use it should be presented clearly and concisely.
Size and shape
The size of a product is also an important part of consumer perception because most equate larger packages with more value. Of course, not every business has the luxury of selling physically large goods.
In this case, it is important to note that shape is also important. In a study that tracked consumer perceptions of various shapes of orange juice bottles, it was found that the anthropomorphic (human) shape was more preferable to a square or round shape.
More generally speaking, elongated packages tend to attract more attention than conventional shapes. Unusual shapes that appeal to the target audience also influence perceptions. For instance, animal-shaped boxes for children’s snack food.
Transparent packaging has also been proven to increase consumer purchase intent because the product is perceived to be healthier and of a higher quality.
This form of packaging is commonly seen in fresh products such as fruit, vegetables, and meat. But it is also used in frozen ready meals and baked goods such as cakes and bread.
Studies have shown that transparent packaging with a rough visual texture is the form consumers trust the most.
- Product packaging plays a key role in consumer purchasing decisions since it is often the first contact time-poor consumers have with a brand.
- Colour is the most influential aspect of product packaging, with many brands using red for its ability to stand out. However, certain colors are also associated with purity and freshness.
- Size and shape are important too, with consumers associating the size of a product package with the product’s value. Transparent packaging with a rough visual texture is also one way a brand can facilitate trust with shoppers.
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