Understand your customer's search behaviour

Marketing & Innovation

Online search engine Google knows better than anyone what people search for on the internet. They know exactly what steps people take from orientation to the purchase of a product.

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Customer Journey | Blauw Research

Google has sufficient data about the search behaviour of its users. For example, when people want to buy a new smartphone or are due a new telephone subscription, they sometimes begin with the provider and sometimes they begin their search with a specific device. But Google is also curious about how people search; the reason behind their search behaviour. With a customer journey study, you analyse consumer behaviour and learn to understand how people make choices. In Google's case, this is very useful as it enables them to link their search results even better to the wishes and needs of consumers. It is also handy for advertisers because they can offer their products and services at the right moment during this path of purchase.

The benefits of an (unstructured) customer journey study

There are two different types of customer journey study. One is a structured study in which you already have certain expectations and test whether these correspond according to a fixed pattern. We have used this method for clients including Philips. This case involved an unstructured customer journey. A group of 200 people in a community are completely free during their route to the purchase of a product. We selected people whose contract with their telephone provider we knew was due to expire within a month. We wanted to find out how these people searched and why they made certain choices. Searching for another smartphone and/or different provider occurs pretty much only when you really must find a new device or provider. This selection therefore really uncovers people's search and purchasing behaviour.


And there are further benefits:

  • Various forms of research are possible: qualitative information via the forum, creative assignments in a challenge, individual assignments in the diary or quantitative information via a questionnaire.
  • Certainly, the selection of a multiclient community is a very affordable type of research.
  • Swift and efficient: regular questions provide answers within a week and urgent questions within a day. But you can also monitor people in a community for a longer period.

The latter is the case with the research for Google.

The 200 community members were monitored for one month during their online search for a new telephone and/or provider. They kept a daily individual diary on their activities during the orientation to purchase process. This is how we discovered if and how their top 3 brands and providers changed during this period. A mine of information and a painstaking task for our research team to update! They inspected the diaries of the 200 members every day. This requires a huge degree of flexibility and analytical capacity.

But it's worth the effort, as the results are extremely worthwhile. You are present at exactly the right moment to discover why a brand appeals or fails. A poor in-store experience due to an unpleasant sales person can ensure that a brand or provider drops out of the consumer's selection procedure. 

Adapting the method of providing information to the type of online shopper

It is evident from research that the triggers for why a customer drops out or simply has a preference for a brand/provider vary hugely and are very diverse. For one consumer, the best coverage may be the defining factor, whereas another may only be interested in a particular brand of device. Nevertheless, significant generalities exist. In this case, there are various profiles to be distinguished; four types of online shopper.

  • The extensive searcher (traditional buyer); wants as much information as possible before proceeding to purchase.
  • The quick decision maker; only interested in the option to purchase quickly.
  • The bargain hunter; always on the lookout for the best deal.

Now we know this, you can also adapt the way in which you provide information to the various profiles.

An example: the extensive searcher constantly seeks confirmation of his choice during his online shopping process and weighs up all the pros and cons constantly. For this type of shopper, a calculation tool helps to check costs exactly. Or in such a case you can provide a detailed list of data which states exactly how much each MB, text and call minute costs.

The quick decision maker hates this kind of thing, he wants to just click, buy and be done with it. An information overload is exactly what scares this type of customer away. These two personalities therefore 'bite' each other in terms of online search behaviour.

That they want to receive their information in a different way is an important insight. Google knows how carefully it must work to allow information to be linked as effectively as possible, based on the various profiles.

Go on a journey with us to discover the ultimate customer journey for your product.

Are you also curious as to how, where and by what method you can reach, affect and influence your consumers in the purchase of a (new) product? Get in contact with us and we will help you to analyse the path to purchase for your (prospective) customers.