Impact of third party websites on consumers’ journey and purchase decisions

Impact of third party websites on consumers’ journey and purchase decisions

For any brand targeting their prospects, it is important to understand how their brand is found or rather, how their potential customers search for brands within their industry. In several of our research studies it was found that consumers rely heavily on third party and aggregator sites when making a brand choice within an industry.

Our research studies found that even though most consumers have a brand in mind before they begin their research, most prefer to use a search engine when researching products or services to then take them through to brand or aggregator sites.preferred brand search journey

So, how can you use search to better your chance of being a preferred brand within an industry?

  1. Aim to meet the broader needs of consumers by tailoring the search creative to the search keywords. Consider paid search for keywords where third party sites are getting featured snippet listings to ensure your brand stays in the mindset.
  2. Tailor search ad creative to the search keyword entered like Budget Direct and Australian Super.
  3. Endeavor to attain a high position on search engines. As seen in the heat map below, most clicks are for the top listings.

best super fund search results compare car insurance search results

search results heat map

Why are consumers going from search through to aggregator sites?

  1. The ease of comparing options and seeing a range of companies in one place are the main reasons consumers want to use an aggregator site.
  2. Almost half of consumers incorrectly think that all companies are shown on aggregator sites and they’ll get the best deals there. This is a risk for brands, if you are not present on the aggregator site – you may lose a chance to join the consumers’ consideration set.

why consumers compare brands

When looking at specific industries, the graphs below show the impact that aggregator sites have on final preferences when it comes to consumers choosing a preferred brand. For example in superannuation, overall 20% of consumers preferred AustralianSuper. However, when we just look at those who visited Canstar as part of their research, 30% of those consumers went on to prefer AustralianSuper.

Interestingly, when we look at energy the two biggest players, AGL and Origin, get a far lower final preference rate from those who used an aggregator site.

Final preference superannuation

final preference home insurance

final preference car insurance

final preference energy

Whilst we acknowledge that aggregator sites are not always the preferred strategy for some brands, there is no doubt that third party sites such as search and aggregators have an impact on which brands consumers ultimately choose as their preferred provider, and there is ample opportunity for brands to take advantage of the popularity of third party websites and increase the likelihood of being chosen as a final preference.

To summarise our findings from our research studies, here are a few key insights and opportunities for brands:

INSIGHTSOPPORTUNITIES
During the consumers' discovery journey, third party sites often gain the most visits- Ensure your brand has a presence on third party sites relevant to your industry
Third party sites are attracting visits through search engine results pages (SERPs)- Tailor search ad creative to key words to ensure more relevance against the third party offering
- Consider paid search for some specific targeted search terms to ensure your brand stays top of mind
Consumer behaviour and display of information on third party sites will affect how competitive your product looks against other brands- Consider tailored products for promotion on third party sites
- Look at ways to gain more exposure on third party sites
Many consumers arriving at your website will already have completed a lot of research at a third party site - they will not want to 'start again'- Offer multiple pathways to products based on the different stages of decision making

To learn more on what you, as a brand can do, see what we revealed during our webinar on this topic or contact us today:

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Will the marketplace strategy shake up the financial services industry?

As we all head to marketplaces to pick up those last minute gifts for Christmas, it seems like a good time of year to talk about the growth and shake up of the financial services industry with market place strategies. Online marketplaces are fast-becoming the favourite destination for online shoppers, with almost 70% of Australians visiting an online marketplace or auction site like eBay or Amazon every month. Marketplaces have boomed in recent years, growing by 74.8% in 2017 alone (Roy Morgan research Jun 2018). With the increased uptake of marketplace sites like Etsy, Uber and AirBNB we have to look at the reasons why these sites are so popular with consumers. What are the benefits of creating an online marketplace?

The marketplace model is based on carriers realising you cannot be the best at everything and resources are too scarce to keep up. In the marketplace model, brands give their customers access to third parties with the best products, the most pleasant customer experience and the lowest costs.

The marketplace business model cuts both ways. Customers get continuous access to the best products and services in the market and costs can be kept at a minimum through connecting (or disconnecting) parties almost in real time to key in on new customer wishes and anticipate other market developments.

Retailers such as Catch and Myer have recently opened marketplaces, recognising the benefit of increased customer traffic and expansion into other categories.

myer market place

“It’s about enabling customers to move freely between brands, channels and product solution,” says Suncorp’s chief executive for Customer Marketplace, Pip Marlow. Suncorp Australia has recently launched a $100 million digital marketplace platform. Users can now view all banking and insurance products in the one online portal from all their brands – Suncorp, AAMI, GIO, Bingle, Shannons and Vero. “We really wanted to move to a level of aggressive transparency across the brand, making sure customers knew what was available to them – and had that choice as part of it.”

suncorp marketplaceThis marketplace model is in direct contrast with the strategy of other financial brands such as Commonwealth Bank and Westpac, which is to keep customers contained to the one brand.

Monzo, Starling, N26 (challenger banks) and TSB are all launching a marketplace offering. This banking business model is on the basis of shared value where the provider creates value for the customer. Value is passed to the customer and the provider takes a referral fee from the beneficiary. Examples include foreign exchange fees, switching energy providers and switching telco providers.

N26 has partnered with TransferWise to let customers make foreign currency transfers, and with vaamo to make investments, all from within its mobile app.

n26Starling Bank recently launched its current account, the only product it will build in-house. Through its marketplace it will give customers access to P2P loans, investments, and has partnered with TransferWise. In the longer term, it plans to offer customers a choice of multiple products in each sector, and to partner with companies in the retail and lifestyle sectors.

starling bankOther companies adopting the marketplace model are Amazon, who is looking to offer bank accounts and already offers loans, along with Google, Facebook and Apple who either have banking licenses or are looking to acquire one.

The big sell for marketplace is that the customer journey and experience is both a satisfying and convenient one allowing for easier navigation and management from a central location. This new approach offers more competition through transparency, choice and better pricing.

We see marketplaces playing an even bigger role in the future.

Who will be next to implement this strategy?

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Motor insurance quote forms are too long according to 31% of consumers

motor insurance

The most common issue faced by consumers when applying online for motor insurance revolves around the length of the quote form and how long it took to complete it with 31% reporting it as being a problem.

Two key questions asked by insurance providers are:

  1. How should I set the quote tool?
  2. What is the impact that the layout has on the actual and perceived length of the form?

Essentially, should it be one question per page with a longer click journey or should the form be presented on one long page in an accordion format?

In reviewing the presentation of the quote form including how many questions are asked and how many pages of questions there are – we gained some insight as to what is making consumers more satisfied and likely to complete the form and go on to purchase a policy.

Churchill and Direct Line both use the same quote tool which contains all questions within the one page.  Additionally, there are fewer questions within the quote form than any other site assessed with just 32 questions on a single page required to get a quote compared to LV= and Admiral who have 40 and 48 questions respectively presented across three pages.

Based on the quote experience, consumers were asked their likelihood to buy from a particular brand. Direct Line and Churchill had the highest proportion of consumers stating that they felt the website met their needs and they would choose the brand as their provider at 14% and 10% respectively.

Fewer questions in quote form equal more likely to buy

Despite having the shortest quote forms, consumers on Churchill’s and Direct Line’s websites still held concerns over the length of time the quote took.

View our webinar – Optimising the quote process & improving customer expectations

Covering all aspects of the quote form including the impact different question formats (radio button, drop down, text entry) have on the physical and cognitive effort to complete the form.

For more insights download our FREE industry report.

Motor Insurance quote process

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Share of Wallet: Best Practice in Cross-selling

Global Reviews has now launched Share of Wallet, a unique data and insights solution that helps your digital and marketing teams to understand the opportunities for a better cross-sell experience for desktop web, mobile web and native app. We’d like to share some information on our methodology with you and show you a few best practice examples.

We conducted research in the banking industry in which we evaluated the current experience and offering of key brands cross-selling within their digital assets and identified best practice in this area across all their products.

With Share of Wallet, we found a solution to:

  • Align/contrast share of wallet performance against the promotion of cross sell opportunities
    • Measure the consumer share of wallet allocation of key brands within banking and insurance industries
    • Audit the implementation of feature and function best practice on digital assets across the same brands
    • Correlate share of wallet performance against the promotion of best practice digital cross-sell strategies
  • Identify best practice in this area across all industries
  • Provide recommendations to improve cross-sell features and functions

Our research shows that there is no correlation between volume of sales a customer has with your company and the volume they have with a competitor. Someone with a current account at one bank, could easily have a home insurance with another bank.

We also can’t focus on absolute satisfaction as a means of understanding share of wallet, for what drives share of wallet, is not what drives the Net Promoter Score (an index that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services to others, used as a proxy for overall customer satisfaction and loyalty to the brand).

Our study on Australian banks shows that the satisfaction rank has no impact on the number of brands customers use.

SoWSatisfaction

So, despite high satisfaction with one product, we found that these are the main reasons for customers to choose a brand for another product they’re interested in:

1. They have the best deals/ offers for my needs (48%)
2. They look like they have good customer service and support features (45%)
3. Their products/ offers were easy to understand (43%)

After our extensive research, our recommendations are:

  • Facilitate quote and applications: This must be a function that is prioritised and provides a good user experience within secure areas, as this is where the existing relationship can play a big part in decision making and ease of completion
  • Help me complete the form: If a current customer is getting a quote or applying, within the customer services area or app, their information should be provided and merely confirmed by the customer (name, address, date of birth, email address, income, employer, assets, debts etc.)
  • Help me understand: Use customer data to provide product recommendations, such as the optimal credit card or loan for them
  • Communication: If you are handing the customer off from one channel to another, ensure that the customer is informed but also that their details are passed on
  • Manage applications and quote: Allow visitors to view and manage applications from within the app, updating them on the progress and status of the application form, and promoting if incomplete
  • Contextual offering and solution approaches: Consider information architecture and content approach, promoting other products softly, in areas where ideal prospective customers may be
  • This content should be shown in a solution/ content manner, rather than an advertisement, in order to be viewed as helpful, UNLESS a strong offer or proposition is available
  • Checking out and quoting functionality: Promote the ability to add, combine, upsell options when quoting or checking out – it is important that cross-buy doesn’t have a negative impact on those who wish to only buy one product
  • Recalling customer data: If an existing customer is following the journey on the public site, they should be given the option to complete in the secure area or recall their details via a policy number etc. to reduce effort required

So how are providers helping existing members to buy more products? Some best practice examples:

SoWAvivaSoWANZSoWANZ2SoWLloydsSoWLloyds2SoWLloydsAviva

Global Reviews specialises in helping top brands worldwide convert more of their ideal customers online, through the use of the most advanced research methodologies. To find out more about how we can help you and your digital teams, or if your brand would like to be included in our next round of Share of Wallet research, please contact: 

Hannah-Rose Farrington – Commercial Director
T:         +44 (0) 203725 8260
M:        +353 (87) 1263043
E:         hannah.farrington@globalreviews.com

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How to optimise cross-sales conversion: a new solution (webinar)

Global Reviews is delighted to announce the launch of SHARE OF WALLET, a unique data and insights solution that helps your digital and marketing teams to understand the opportunities for a cross-buy experience for desktop, mobile, mobile app and public websites.

Global Reviews evaluated five banks in Australia and their audit scores show that they currently achieve between 27% and 57% cross sell success. We were curious to find out why they lost their existing customers, who are looking for another product they offer, to a different brand.

We evaluated the current experience and offering of key brands cross-selling within their digital assets and identified best practice in this area across all their products.

Share of Wallet measures:

  • How many existing customers, who are in market for another product, you are losing to a competitor that you could and should have won
  • Why your cross sales experience didn’t encourage your customers to buy and to which competitor you lost them to
  • The quality and effectiveness of the experience you are providing online with real world conversion metrics

This analysis creates understanding of the competitor and market forces that are influencing purchasing decisions and identifies what changes you need to make to your site and app to impact conversions.

Some examples of best practice we discovered during our research:

  • Promote complementary products within content, with a solution approach (consider scenarios or personas)
  • Utilise customer data to provide detailed examples of their potential opportunities (borrowing capabilities, repayments, loan type)
  • Give the customer the opportunity to buy or find out more – Don’t forget to plant the seed for later

 

To see more research results and find out more about Share of Wallet, sign up to our webinar of Thursday 6 April 2017, 9am GMT

SoW webinarGlobal Reviews specialises in helping top brands worldwide convert more of their ideal customers online, through the use of the most advanced research methodologies. To find out more about how we can help you and your digital teams, or if your brand would like to be included in our next round of Share of Wallet research, please contact: 

Hannah-Rose Farrington – Commercial Director
T:         +44 (0) 203725 8260
M:        +353 (87) 1263043
E:         hannah.farrington@globalreviews.com

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Major motor insurance brands losing 81% of “converted” prospects during online purchasing process

motor insurance

81% of customers shopping online for motor insurance decide on a preferred brand early in the process, only to swap to a competing brand at the final purchase stage. This revelation comes from new data just released from digital conversion intelligence company Global Reviews.

After digitally measuring tens of thousands of behavioural data points from online shoppers in the market for motor insurance, Global Reviews found that the major brands are effective at deploying large marketing budgets to build top-of-mind recall. However, these same brands lose hard-won prospects during the purchase process as a result of uncompelling offers, a lack of access to information, and badly designed conversion pages. These “lost opportunities” were most pronounced at Direct Line, but most major brands also suffered this loss to some degree.

Sankey screenshot

Click to view rollover diagram

In part, the extreme customer attrition is caused by the growing reliance of digital teams on site-centric, single data sources. These packages focus almost exclusively on the company’s own website, thus reducing their ability to view and respond to overall competitive market dynamics. Whole-of-market visibility is one of the major advantages driving the rise of aggregators who exploit their competitive intelligence to intermediate brands and dictate pricing and preference.

For example, consider that Aviva is a well-known brand with high unprompted recall. The Global Reviews analytics discovered that this strong branding led Aviva to be the initial stated preference of a large number of customers, and yet during the purchase process, Aviva lost a substantial number of these hot prospects to lesser known brand, Churchill. To quantity the difference, Aviva’s Lost Opportunity score was 72%, representing a huge loss of revenue and an escalated customer acquisition cost (CAC).

This high Lost Opportunity and the success of Churchill in dynamically churning hot Aviva prospects during the purchase process is unexpected. Global Reviews data revealed that initially, in-market consumers start their purchase journey with an emotional view of Aviva as a reputable brand with great prices, products which match their needs, good customer service and a website that is easy to use. Churchill on the other hand is perceived as undynamic and being behind the technology curve.

However, once their shopping process has begun these consumer perceptions quickly change, and Churchill consistently delivers “delight”. In fact, astonishingly Churchill ranked first across all competitors as the most preferred brand at the end of the research phase of purchasing. Global Reviews can reveal that this was driven by an online narrative focused on demonstrating a range of products and offers designed specifically to suit individual customer needs. The navigation data also revealed an information architecture that made it simple to find key information on their website.

Online customer journey

Customer Journey Mobile Motor

Watch our webinar to learn more:

If you would like to book a private conversation to learn more about these or any other Global Reviews insights please contact:

Gerard Farrell
Head of Product and Client Advisory
gerard.farrell@globalreviews.com
+44 (0) 203725 8260

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How investing in a personalised online quote tool for life insurance can help to improve customer experience

Recent Global Reviews research which looked at the Digital Sales Effectiveness of the Life Insurance industry in both the UK and Australia revealed that the majority of providers are scoring below average. According to our in-depth research around customer experience in the life insurance industry, the ability to receive a well-tailored, easy to understand and personalised quote is of major importance. Scoring an average of 8.5 for the UK market and an 8.3 for the Australian market (on a scale of 1-10) for customer needs.

Top Needs

Through advanced research methodologies, Global Reviews found that the UK Life Insurance market scored rather low, 53% for the quote tool tailoring features while the Australian market scored substantially higher with 81%. When it came to ‘understanding the quote’, the UK life insurance market scored on average 48% with the Australian market scoring 67%.

UK AU Average

If the UK and the Australia are to be compared, the UK can certainly learn from the features the Australian market has introduced. We looked at top performers on personalised quotes within the Australian life insurance industry and the top performer of the UK in that same category.

RACQ and Coles are the top performing brands in the Australian life insurance market when it comes to a well-tailored and easy to understand quote. RACQ scores 82% on quote tailoring features and 79% on understanding the quote with Coles scoring 91% and 73% respectively.

The features that add to the strength of these top performing quote tools are:

Coles:   

  • Policy additions are listed with a price.
  • The quote includes a reference number.

Coles

RACQ:

  • Summary of key information.
  • There is a clear breakdown of what the price covers.

RACQ

Both:

  • Customers are told whether the quote results are ‘estimates only’ or actual.
  • Quote results link to detailed explanation of the product.

In the UK market, Legal & General scored highest, with 82% on ‘tailoring the quote’ and 60% for ‘understanding the quote’. This is an exceptional result taking into consideration that the average UK score is 53% for ‘tailoring a quote’ and 48% for ‘understanding the quote’.  What is Legal & General doing to achieve high scores?

As part of Global Reviews rigorous research programme multiple features and functions of the quote tool are tested. Our research revealed that Legal & General’s quote tool is tailorable and flexible. The quote gives customers the option to add extra items to their insurance policy. In addition, every policy is listed with a price, and the price is then automatically updated with every adjustment. Another feature that makes Legal & General stand out an easy comparison table for the key insurance products which helps customers to compare options and easily understand the quote. Life Insurance providers across the globe would stand to differentiate themselves and create a better customer experience simply by helping customers through the quote tool, helping them to compare and understand options.

UK L&G

 

 

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General Insurers – Simple Steps to Optimising Online Customer Conversion

General

Here at Global Reviews, we are fully focused on helping brands worldwide across multiple industries to increase their online acquisition ratios and conversion rates. One such industry is insurance and interestingly, our most recent data revealed that both home and motor insurance providers struggle at helping customers across each stage of the online customer sales journey.

The Sales Effectiveness Customer Journey 

The sales effectiveness customer journey follows the user through the four stages of consideration followed by the two stages of action.

Customer Sales Journey

  1. Initial Engagement – a user is introduced to the website
  2. Introducing Options – locating various insurance options
  3. Evaluating Options – considering different policies
  4. Facilitating Decisions – making a final decision on which insurance policy to choose
  5. Channel Selection – choosing how and where to purchase the insurance policy
  6. Application Form – purchasing the insurance online

It becomes apparent when we look at the scores across the stages for insurance providers in Ireland, UK and Australia, that there is a very common theme. The focus for insurance brands tends to gravitate towards the book ends of the customer sales journey,’Initial Engagement’ and the ‘Application Form’. As a result, insurance providers are failing to focus on their customers needs and wants when it comes to finding the correct insurance policy, ‘Evaluating Options’. It is at this stage we can see the scores drop across the various regions.

Motor Insurance Customer Journey

Drilling down further, and looking at the low ‘matching products to needs’ scores across a number of brands in Ireland, UK and Australia, it is evident that insurance customers struggle to find relevant product details to ensure product details matched their specific needs.

Matching products to needs

What steps can insurers take to increase online customer acquisition ratios? 

Simple improvements can make a big difference.

  • Highlight the value of the quote
  • Ensure that comparison tools and tables have a call to action.
  • Help customers differentiate between insurance covers. Ensure that customers have the right cover to suit their specific needs.
  • Highlight key product features but link to full detail pre-quote.
  • Ensure navigation is easy to follow. Clearly communicate the starting point for customers.
  • Calculators help users to make informed choices
  • Clearly communicate trust

To find out more, join our upcoming General Insurance webinar 

Global Reviews is a recognised world leader at providing leading companies with unique intelligence that helps increase their online customer acquisition ratios.

To find out more about our research programmes and how we can help you convert more of your ideal customers online, please contact:

Hannah-Rose Farrington – Commercial Director

T:         +44 (0) 203725 8260

M:        +353 (87) 1263043

E:         hannah.farrington@globalreviews.com

 

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Importance of motor insurance providers presenting a strong value proposition

Motor Insurance Value Propersition

Along with brand trust, having the best offers and prices is a key driver for getting shortlisted and finally selected by a customer. When compiling a shortlist of motor insurance providers, 42% of consumers put a brand on their consideration list because they had good prices/offers.

Budget Direct is a brand with relatively low initial recall of just 18% compared to AAMI’s 66% unprompted recall rate, according to the most recent data from our Digital Marketing Effectiveness studies. However, once customers did their initial research, 27% placed Budget Direct on their consideration list. Given that Budget Direct scored an impressive 78% in our Digital Sales Effectiveness benchmark for their site content around value proposition, their strong inclusion on shortlists is not surprising. They sit well above the industry average of 41% for their value proposition content, and hold a 22 point lead on Coles Insurance and GIO who share second spot each with a score of 56%.

Brands that cannot compete on price need to be focusing on clearly communicating what their value proposition is, otherwise they will lose out to brands who are in a situation where they can offer the lowest prices.

For a non-tangible product such as insurance, it can be difficult for consumers to determine the difference between policies offered by different brands. Therefore, brands need to be able to set themselves apart by including things such as a slogan to identify their competitive advantage.

Explain to the consumer what it means to be a policy holder with you. All insurance products offer protection, so what does your brand offer that nobody else does?

In addition to explaining what sets a brand apart, companies also need to be ensuring that they refer to the customer needs rather than solely focusing on the product. Using user centric language such as ‘you’ and ‘your’ can help to engage the consumer as it can turn the language used from feeling like jargon to becoming more conversational and relatable.

All of this helps to build a stronger brand impression whilst delivering a value proposition consumers can relate to and understand. This strong brand impression in turn helps to drive higher conversions online.

To learn more download our FREE report or join our upcoming webinar.

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Differing wants and needs when researching life insurance

life insurance

Results from our first Life Insurance Digital Sales Effectiveness benchmark in Australia have revealed that the industry still has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to the online experience for consumers in market for purchasing a new life insurance policy. The industry averaged a score of 54% when looking at the features, functions and usability of provider websites from a customer’s initial engagement with the site through to applying online.

Online customer journey

Customer sales journey

Overall benchmark scores

brands

Average industry benchmark scores

Industry score

Even though health, home, motor and life insurance averages similar scores, there are differences in the wants and needs of prospective customers depending on what type of insurance they are searching for.

When compared to customers that are researching health, home and motor insurance, prospective customers are inclined to place a higher importance on things like online chat functions, and expert and customer reviews when searching for life insurance.

Website elements rated on a scale of importance from 1-10

Elements

Along with an importance rating of 7.3/10, 26% of customers stated that if they encountered any problems whilst researching life insurance online then they would look for an online web chat feature. Despite a strong calling for this feature, none of the life insurance brands included in our recent study offer a generalised online chat function. AAMI does offer a chat function during the application form, however this does not feed through to the remainder of the site.

What would you do if you encountered a problem online?

Problems encountered

The next most commonly sought after area if problems are encountered is FAQ/help. Each of the brands measured offer FAQ/help is some capacity, however the implementation of it could benefit from some improvements simply by taking a look at one of the UK’s top performing life insurance providers, Beagle Street.

Beagle Street in the UK uses a range of dedicated pages which gives them more opportunities to provide helpful content for customers on life insurance. They present their range of help options in a colour blocked matrix with call-to-action buttons on their help center page, which acts as a hub for all help content and options.

Beagle Street help page

As well as looking internationally for best practice examples, Australian life insurance providers can look to other local industries or even at other product offerings within their own brand.

Global Reviews is unique in that thanks to our breadth of research across Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the UK, our expert advisors know what best practice looks like because they are evaluating hundreds of websites from around the world every year.

If you want to find out how your website rates and get tailored best practice examples to help your brand grow, contact us today.

Darren Watson
Senior Commercial Director
Ph: +61 3 9982 3412
Email: darren.watson@globalreviews.com

*[SOURCE] GLOBAL REVIEWS AU Life Insurance – BRAND Digital sales effectiveness q2 2016 N=234

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